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Wednesday, 20 November 1974
Page: 2557

Senator McAULIFFE (QUEENSLAND) -I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport: Does he remember the Minister for Transport announcing last year, following the visit to Australia of the Chinese Minister for Foreign Trade, that the Chinese Government would be interested in the Australian National Line participating on a joint basis with Chinese flag ships in the ChinaAustralia trade? Can the Minister tell the Senate whether there are any developments from these discussions and what likelihood there is of such an arrangement?

Senator CAVANAGH (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) -The Minister for Transport has shown some interest in reciprocal arrangements with China in respect of Chinese vessels and the Australian National Line operating in the China-Australia trade. These arrangements would develop as trade agreements developed between China and Australia and it is hoped that both countries can participate in this arrangement by having their own flagships operating. Representatives of the Australian National Line have just visited China, primarily in support of the Australian trade display at Peking, and while there took the opportunity to discuss such questions with their counterparts in China. Of course the question of the volume of trade is being considered and it is realised that considerable work will have to be done before this proposal can reach fruition. The Minister for Transport has continually stated that he seeks an expansion of the activities of the Australian National Line to other countries but that this must be done on a proper basis after study has been made of the matter.

Senator McAuliffe - It cannot operate in Queensland.

Senator CAVANAGH - No. It is unfortunate that the Australian National Line is not permitted, through the action of the Queensland Premier, to trade between Queensland and other States despite the privations suffered by certain ports in respect of cargo operations. However, with respect to China there is a belief that with the development of mutual understanding and increased trade we can get to a position where we can have reciprocal arrangements between the Chinese shipping company and the Australian National Line on chartering rights.

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