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Commonwealth-States ports meeting

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(Statement by the Hon. Ian Sinclair, Minister for Shipping and Transport and Acting Minister for Trade and Industry),

Ports development was essential to the maintenance of

Australia's economic growth and a case for co—operation in port

planning existed.

The Minister for Shipping and Transport, Mr Ian Sinclair,

said this today at Southport, Queensland, in opening the second

meeting of Commonwealth and State Ministers responsible for ports.

(The ports Ministers met for the first time in Sydney on 13 April

this year)..

The Southport meeting is to look at further steps

necessary to examine procedures for the co—ordination of port

development around the Australian coast.

Mr Sinclair said the States might again be assured

that the Commonwealth was not seeking to become a national port

authority — the responsibility for ports must always rest with

the States„

'Extremely large amounts of money are going to be

involved in port developments', the Minister said.

'With the scarcity of Australian capital resources it

is essential to employ funds with the maximum efficiency'.

He said that the States were not alone in the need to look ahead.

The Commonwealth had responsibilities for shipping involving overseas services, interstate shipping, ship design and

construction, navigational aids, pollution of the sea and safety at sea.., .

'Some ports in Australia have limitations, in terms

of present day thinking', Mr Sinclair continued,


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'These are mainly insufficient depth of water and harbour and wharf congestion.

'But there is also the problem with some ports of

redundancy and obsolescence,,

'Some relatively new port facilities are not being

fully utilised.

'This is mainly because conventional ships, for which

the facilities were provided, are being phased out.

'But containerisation, terminal techniques and in the

bulk trades the use of much larger vessels also have their


Mr Sinclair said that as a nation Australia should be

looking ahead now to ensure port planning was not an expedient

to cater for the pressures of the moment.

.Unless long—term solutions were found nothing-but chaos might result in the years ahead when trade had grown.

'One way to look closely at all port development which

has a national bearing could be to examine the matter from the

point of view of coast approaches, new port sites, and land_accessi,

said the Minister.

He said the Commonwealth was prepared to look at the

economics of port development from the national view—point:,

To do this four criteria would need to be applied:

if the project had a value extending beyond the State; if it was

likely to contribute to the development of Australia; if it

facilitated the expansion of Australia's exports; if it was beyond the normal resources of a State.

'In these circumstances the Commonwealth is anxious to see how it can help', the Minister continued.

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'For Australia's exports must always be competitive

in the world market and port costs must be contained in order

to maintain this position'.