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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 438

Mr Jacobi asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development and Energy, upon notice, on 30 April 1 980:

(   1 ) Has the Minister's attention been drawn to reports that (a) the growing inter-State passenger trade on the Murray River between South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales is being severely hampered (i) through failure to remove fallen trees from the river, for instance at Higgins Cutting, 6 km upstream from the South Australian border, (ii) by the proposed closure of Lock 5 and other locks for leisurely repairs and (b) the failure to keep the river open for navigation is of grave concern to some boat operators and people involved in passenger transport on the river.

(2)   Is the tourist traffic along the Murray River becoming increasingly important; if so, will Commonwealth responsibility for this form of inter-State trade be acknowledged and honoured.

Mr Anthony - The Minister for National Development and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   (a) (i) and (ii). No. Under the River Murray Waters Agreement, responsibility for both these matters rests with the State Governments.

(b)   I am not aware of any specific reports but it has long been recognised that navigation on sections of the river tends to be unreliable due to fluctuations in river flow. Again under the Agreement, responsibility for operation, control and maintenance of locks rests with the respective State Governments and I have no reason to believe that this responsibility is not being properly discharged. There will inevitably be interruptions to navigation when maintenance becomes necessary.

(2)   I understand that tourist traffic on the river is increasing; the development of tourism on the Murray River is primarily a matter for the States concerned.

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