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Tuesday, 10 May 1960

Mr OPPERMAN - It is quite obvious that the series of questions asked by the honorable member will require investigation. With respect to " Wanaka ", I should like to say that the Tasmanian potato marketing organization supplied the information. The honorable member should appreciate, particularly as he is a Tasmanian, that at the time in question there was a tremendous amount of weather disturbance and that shipping from Tasmania was further hindered by the watersiders' hold-up. Those two factors caused some dislocation of services.

I shall take a note of the questions asked by the honorable member and. although I do not give any undertaking now that departmental officers will go to the Tasmanian north-west coast, I shall again have a look at the question of shipping. However, i should like to emphasize that shipping between Tasmania and the mainland is a matter of economics as well as of other factors. All the disadvantages experienced by Tasmania cannot be overcome unless it is joined to the mainland or a bridge is constructed across Bass Strait. We find that shippers, wishing to get the best prices from their markets, desire to have ships on the wharfs right at the time when they can catch the top of the market. This situation will never be adequately resolved, because the shipping companies themselves have to consider the economics of the matter. I assure the honorable member that everything that can be done to give the people of Tasmania the best possible service will be done.

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