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Thursday, 25 July 1912

Senator SAYERS (Queensland) . - I can bear out a great deal of what has been said by the mover and seconder of the motion. I believe that better boats Wil have to be employed to take the place of the Rotomahana, and other boats engaged1 in this service. It is not every kind of boat than can be taken up the Tamar River at all states of the tide. The Rotomahana is an old boat, and stops running at times because she requires new machinery. I donot know anything about her boiler capacity, but her engines have frequently broken down on a trip. She cannot navigate the Tamar unless at certain states of the tide, and passengers and mails haveto be transhipped to a tender or brought by a tender from Launceston, to the anchorage of the Rotomahana near the mouth of the river. Unless steps have previously been taken by the Government, I do not see how it will be possible for the company- to substitute for the Rotomahana a vessel of the same class as the Loongana. I think there is no other vessel of the same kind in Australia. I do not think it would be reasonable for the Commonwealth to build a steamer to conduct this service, because she would have to enter into competition with the steamers of existing companies.

Senator Ready - It would be a good paying proposition.

Senator SAYERS - The honorable senator must remember that the Government would be competing with companies that are trading profitably in other parts of the world, and the Union Steamship Company would be able to conduct this service with very low rates of freight. I think we should be asking too much of the Government were we to say that, in five or six weeks, they could take steps to secure the employment of a better class of boats in this service. That must be a matter for future consideration, and the shipping companies should be urged to do what is reasonable. I believe that, in their own interests, the shipping companies should put on better boats. In the summer months, one boat has to take up the whole of the service, and that means overtaxing the men, the machinery, and the vessel. T hope that the Government will make the best terms they can in the interests of Tasmania, and, personally, I should like to see two boats of the type of the Loongana engaged, and a more frequent service provided. We shall have to trust the Government to make the best terms they can with the shipping companies. I have much pleasure in supporting the motion.

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