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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1950

Mr CHARLES JONES - I thank the Minister and the House. I bring these matters to the attention of honourable members to indicate the great need for the Government to do something about providing increased docking capacity in Australia. The State Dockyard in Newcastle has been trying for some considerable time to get an assurance from the Government that money will be made available to build a graving dock as part of the shipbuilding layout there. At present a 22,000 ton tanker, the 'Cellana', owned by the Shell Co. of Australia, is the subject of disputation. The company has been trying to force the maritime unions to take this ship to Singapore for a substantial conversion job. Additions are to be made to its pump room which will cost in excess of $250,000. It will be necessary to sand blast and shot blast the tanks of the tanker to convert it into a products carrier. This will cost from $350,000 to $400,000 and will provide employme for between 125 and 150 men for a period of about 6 to 7 weeks. The time involved could be longer or slightly less but it is a substantial job. At this time large, numbers of unskilled men are unemployed in Sydney and Newcastle and this is work to which they would be ideally suited. The Shell Co. has taken the Maritime Services Guild to court on a number of occasions trying to force the Guild to lift the ban. It was only this week that Mr Justice Franki adjourned the case and did not issue an order against the Maritime Services Guild.

The proposed action to have this work done overseas is typical of the general situation. If honourable members study the list of names which I have had incorporated in Hansard they will see the number of ships which have gone overseas in recent years. Of a total of 21 ships, 19 could have been docked and repaired in Australian docks and at Australian ship yards, but this work is being sent overseas. These ships are earning their money in the Australian coastal trade. Some are earning money in the Australian overseas trade. But they are dependent on Australia for their business and their owners should be forced by the Government, and by the Minister for Shipping and Transport, not only to build their ships in Australia but also to have them docked and repaired here.

The Government has been sitting on a Cabinet sub-committee report on docks in Australia. This report has been in the possession of Cabinet for, I believe, almost 12 months and it is time it was brought before the Parliament, a decision made, on where docks are to be built and what Commonwealth assistance will be forthcoming to assist the States in the building of those docks. It is up to the Government to do something about this situation. It is up to the Government to issue a direction to ship owners like the Shell Co. that where you earn your money, spend your money'. This is what the Government should be doing in respect of the 'Cellana'. I was pleased to see that Mr Justice Franki did not proceed with that hearing.

Another matter that is covered by section 286 of the Act concerns the number of ships which are coming onto the Australian coast. I do not have time to deal with all of them but a number of Australian ships are tiedand I deal specifically with 3 of the the 'Kembla' of 13,700 dead weighttons, the 'Mount Kiera' of 13,710 dead weight tons owned by the Australian National Line and the Wollongong" of 16,520 dead weight tons owned by Associated Steamships Pty Ltd. These 3 ships are tied up. Yet this Government gave the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd permission to bring to Australia the 'Iron Somersby', 105,500 tons dead weight, which I am pleased to say is now tied up. It is flying the British flag; it is not on the Australian register. It was brought to Australia on a 5-year charter. The Government has not given any indication of the conditions of the charter. Is that company going to build another ship in the 5 years that the 'Iron Somersby' is here on charter?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order!The honourable member's time has expired. Is the amendment seconded?

Mr Hansen - I second it and reserve my right to speak.

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