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Friday, 14 September 1906

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) (Honorary Minister) . - In answer to the honorable senator, I have to say that an arrangement in connexion with the Tasmanian mail service has been completed so far as the Government is concerned. Tenders were received, with the result that a contract will be entered into with the Union Steam-ship Company of New Zealand and

Huddart, Parker and Company Limited, who, jointly, will be the contractors for the service. I may take the opportunity to read the following statement in regard to it:-

The present contract provides for a three times a week service throughout the year between Melbourne and Launceston by two steamers, one averaging 16 knots, and the other averaging 14 knots, for a subsidy of £11,000 per annum; and for a service between Melbourne and Burnie once a week for eight months in each year, and twice a week for four months in each year, for a subsidy of £2,000 per annum.

As compared with the existing contract, the new tenders at the same rate of subsidy provide -

1.   For the Loongana, averaging 16 knots, to maintain the full service to and fro between Melbourne and Launceston from15th October to 30th April.

2.   For the provision of a steam tender to connect atRosevears with the contract steamer when the tide does not permit of the latter awaiting the arrival of the Hobart express at Launceston.

3.   For two sailings per week all the year round to and fro between Melbourne and Burnie, as against two sailings per week for four months and one sailing per week during the remaining eight months.

4.   For the Oonah, averaging 14 knots, to be substituted for the Flora, averaging 12 knots, before the end of 1907.

5.   For the steamers to connect at Burnie with the trains to and from Launceston.

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