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Wednesday, 24 May 1972
Page: 3058

Dr SOLOMON (Denison) (12:41 PM) - I wish to raise a subject which might, more appropriately, be raised during a grievance debate or a more general debate, but, in the absence of those debates for the time being, I raise it now. This matter concerns shipping in relation to the port of Hobart and the operations of the Australian National Line. There are factors operating which may be said to be both external and internal, but they are, I believe, closely related. In fact, there was an understanding between the Marine Board of Hobart and the Australian National Line some little time ago that there would be 3 return services per month between Sydney and Hobart by the passenger vessel, 'Empress of Australia' and that the terminal to be provided in Hobart for the purposes of the operation of that vessel would be used intensively and would be equipped in certain respects to make that operation better.

On the basis of this understanding the terminal complex was built at a cost of slightly more than SI. 25m. It is considered that the complex is of a standard equal to that of any in Australia. A rental was charged to the Australian National Line for the special facilities provided and the terminal building and the appurtenances thereto. In order to encourage increased use of the terminal a system of rebate on rental became operative and the Line, in fact, stood to benefit from increasing use of the terminal. The failure of the ANL to use this $ 1.25m terminal, even to approximate capacity, can be gauged from a number of factors. Prior to the withdrawal of the 'Searoad' cargo services a ship called at the terminal approximately once a week, thereby using the facilities one or perhaps 2 days out of 7. The relative tonnage of cargo handled at the port during the 3 years preceding this rates agreement with the ANL compared very unfavourbly with tonnages of cargo handled over the Seaway terminal by the Union Steamship Company. With the permission of the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz), to whom I have referred this matter, I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a 4-line table.

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