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Monday, 19 October 1970

Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry) - It is true that announcements have been made in the Press and to shippers of an increase for the movement of goods from Australia to Arabian Gulf ports. The increase, of course, relates, as in every other shipping trade, to the very considerable increase in expenses of handling cargoes, paying crews' wages and providing a service. In these circumstances it has been aggravated by the political instability of the area surrounding the Middle East. The line responsible for this trade has had discussions in Australia with the shippers and the Government. The significant difference between the increase in this trade and increases applied elsewhere in trades out of Australia is that where there is a closed Conference and where discussions have been possible with a shipper body recognised under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act for the purpose of giving shippers an opportunity to participate within the trade, there have been far lower levels of increase than in this trade where there is no such recognised shipper body.

The important thing that people need to recognise is that in the area of Australian shipping services in the closed Conference there is today a mixture of conventional and container vessels. For conventional vessels there are very substantial increases in costs which are related to the industrial factors that I mentioned earlier and to the general circumstances of providing an adequate service with conventional means of handling cargo. Where there is an introduction of new forms of cargo handling, whether by pallets, flats or containers, there is a capacity to reduce substantially the impact of these increased costs, lt is for that reason alone that in the negotiations in the United Kingdom to. Europe Conference it has been possible to contain the level of increase so that the increase in charges in that trade is so much lower than it will be on trade to the Arabian Gulf, lower indeed than the increases imposed in other shipping services provided from similar countries to countries such as New Zealand where there is no Restrictive Trade Practices Act.

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