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Tuesday, 30 April 1968

Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry) - Over the weekend I read in the newspapers that there have been substantial heavy falls of rain in central Australia, as a result of which the Ghan train service has been interrupted between Alice Springs and Marree. Having flown over the route of the railway \'.nc and having seen how the construction involves crossing many creek beds that in times of flood are necessarily passages for water, I have no doubt, regrettably, that on the present basis of route construction interruptions will continue to occur to this train service while the centre enjoys a good season. It will be necessary to examine the route of this line carefully. Already the Commonwealth Railways has made a preliminary examination of possible alternative routes. Before any forward planning can be implemented it will be necessary, of course, to make a detailed examination of these alternative routes. Naturally the prospect of this being done will be accelerated because the line is constantly being put out of order. I assure the honourable member that this railway route is regarded as a vital lifeline for the people of the centre, and consequently it will receive close and urgent examination.

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