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Thursday, 22 August 1912

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - The following is an official statement in regard to lighthouses -

As the control of coastal lighthouses has been taken over by the Commonwealth, it is necessary to provide funds for the following : -

(a)   The maintenance of existing lights;

(b)   Alterations to existing lights;

(c)   Such new works as may be found requisite.

The Department of Trade and Customs has secured the services of Commander Brewis as lighthouse expert, who is engaged on the inspection of the coastal lighthouses, and is advising as to the alteration and new works which in his opinion are requisite to safeguard navigation in this direction.

The requirements will prove to be extensive; in fact, although Commander Brewis has only dealt with the Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria (south-east coast), and Tasmania, he considers an expenditure of . £382,000 will be necessary to bring these coasts into an efficient state.

It is, of course, impossible to spend that amount in any one year, and, in addition, certain requirements are more urgent than others.

In regard to the extensive requirements it may be mentioned that in all States the total is larger than it ordinarily would be, owing to the fact that the States have not kept pace with the requirements during the last ten years, because of the probable transfer of the lighthouse service to the Commonwealth.

The proposed cost of construction when spread over a period of six years is moderate when it is considered that in Great Britain - where coastal lighting has been steadily proceeding since the year 1685- -the expenditure on new construction and improvement of existing lights for the six years ended 1905 has reached , £95,853 per annum.

The following services have been authorized : -


Senator Rae - Have they been definitely taken over?

Senator PEARCE - I am not able to give the honorable senator that information, but I will obtain it for him during the course of the evening. My own impression is that the actual transfer has not yet taken place, but that preparations for it are being made.

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