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Tuesday, 7 May 1968

Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry) - Since the 'Wahine' disaster the Department of Shipping and Transport has taken close note of all the proceedings that have been published, and those which have not been published, to try to ascertain whether any extra precautions are necessary on vessels plying around the Australian coast. As a result of the disaster it was thought necessary that on each voyage an explanation of safety drill should be made by officers of the Australian National Line on ships' intercommunication systems. A recommendation to do likewise has been made to private operators. In regard to the design of lifejackets to which the honourable member referred, currently an investigation is being undertaken by my Department to ascertain whether or not newspaper comments on this subject have been accurate and what design alterations may be necessary. In fact, at this stage the design and the necessary number of life-jackets and life-rafts are, of course, specified by regulations. If it should be found, as a result of the inquiry which is to be conducted into the 'Wahine' disaster and the investigations made by the Department, that there should be a necessary alteration to the regulations, then, of course, that will be announced in this House and the necessary alterations will be made.

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