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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3116

Senator CHILDS —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. Have any decisions been made that would improve the financial viability of the Australian National Line, particularly in relation to the shipping of cargo to Europe?

Senator GIETZELT —A month or two ago I read a report with respect to proposals to give the Australian National Line greater access to the European market. I am advised that negotiations have been underway for some time between the European shipping conference and the Australian National Line with a view to Australia getting a more equitable share of the trade that flows between that part of the world and Australia. I understand that those negotiations have led to an agreed decision being made that the ANL will be able to participate more in that process of increased trade than hitherto. Senator Childs asked about the financial viability of ANL. Naturally, of course, if ANL gets increased trade between Europe and Australia, its financial viability will be considerably enhanced. That is a very desirable position from the point of view of the Australian Government and Australia's exporters because, if we do have a more viable shipping organisation, and if we are able to place it on a better financial basis, clearly, it will require less subsidisation from the Australian taxpayer as well as improving and making a success of an important public facility.