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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 3070

Mr WHITLAM - I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport a question. Is it a fact that in the coming financial year the wool industry will be paying less to ship wool 12.600 miles to Europe than it will be to ship wool 4,300 miles to Japan? Is the Australian National Line, which is engaged in the trade with Japan, endeavouring to remedy the situation? Is the Government making efforts by any other means to do so?

Mr NIXON - In the first place the Leader of the Opposition well knows that the carriage of wool is a matter for negotiation between the wool owners, after the point of purchase, and the shipping lines. That clarifies my own position in this matter as the Minister in charge of the Australian National Line. Insofar as the activities of the ANL are concerned, the Leader of the Opposition will know also that the real purpose of the Government in putting the ANL back into the overseas fleet was to enable the Government to know the effect on and cost of shipping to Australian exporting industries. I am positively certain after its 2 or 3 years experience that the Australian nation is, for a couple of reasons, much better off as a result of ANL intervention. The first reason is that we are better informed about the European run. I think it is true to say that some of the good things that have come out of the changes in freight rates could well have resulted from the ANL entering into that conference. On the Japan run, the ANL is a member of the conference and contributes thoroughly and very efficiently to the carriage of goods by the conference. I conclude my answer in the way I began, by reminding the Leader of the Opposition that it is a matter for negotiation between the owners of the wool at the point of its departure ,ind the shipping companies. I shall look at the implications of the question asked by the honourable gentleman about what further steps the ANL could take separately. If there is anything to add to what 1 have said already I will inform him.

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