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Address on the occasion of the keel laying ceremony for the tanker the "Amanda Miller," Whyalla

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PRESS STATEMENT EMBARGO; Not for publication

or broadcast before 12 noon, 15th January, 1970


15TH JANUARY, 1970) lb.

9°The "Amanda Miller""represents a new generation of big oil tankers to service Austra.Ii:cc oil fields and oil refineries,

She will be the first tanker built by R.W. Miller and Co

Pty. Ltd. and will replace the two smaller tankers which form

part of the tanker fleet flying the Australian flag and crewed

by Australians which were introduced by the Company into the

Australian coasting trade five years ago,

The "Amanda Miller" is evidence of the move towards the

construction of bigger ships in Australia and overseas as

well as the introduction oi labour—saving automated devices

throughout the ship to facilitate operation of the vessel

These larger ships are designed to provide the necessary

economies of scale in cargo transportation. The Australian

crude pricing is based on minimal freight rates. To this

end bigger tankers will :.sc__ti i in holding and reducing per

barrel freight, rates in facc :. _ - ceasing costs® They

form part of Governments @ and irH r's objective to achieve

the greatest possible economies i: r a product movement®

The introduction of large ships of course means changes in

established practices®in traditional modes of operation®

Given goodwill and mutual understanding in consultation

between interested parties I believe transitional difficulties

can be quickly overcome,

To Sir Roderick and the R,W, Miller Company I pay credit for

their initiative in the building of this ship which I believe

will be a very worthwhile member of the Australian coasting


In the last few months the delay in coming into production

on the Bass Strait oil field, allied with the provision of

new larger tankers to service the expected needs of the

Australian refineries has created some problems •in the

utilisation of the "Millers McArthur" and R.W. Miller".

The men who man these ships have been concerned at their

prospect of continuing employment. At the same time the

oil companies who use them have been worried at high cartage

rates which they can only pass on to consumers®

At this time when there are.still smaller tankers in service

on the coast, and before the new generation of large tankers

comes into operation, it is a time of transition. Indeed,

there is difficulty in assessing absolute tanker tonnage

requirements in these circumstances. I am happy that common

sense and goodwill between the responsible parties has

prevailed. A sharing of the extra costs involved amongst


all parties should mean no extra cost to petrol consumers. It

will facilitate an easy transition into the more economic

larger tankers as they come into service.

The Whyalla Shipyard of the Broken Hill Co. Pty. Ltd. is of

course the largest shipyard in Australia. An order has now

been placed with the yard, not just for this 62,000 dwt,

tanker but also for a 78,000 dwt. bulk carrier. This order

has been placed on behalf of Clutha Development Pty. Ltd.

It is expected to be completed by January, 1972. The carrier

is designed for coastal bauxite trades and will have the

flexibility of size to engage in overseas trading.

Thesevessels, the 24,000 dwt. tanker on order for the Mobil.

Oil Company and the fitting out of Australian National Line

bulk carrier "Yarra River" will ensure full employment for

the 1,600 men engaged in this yard. It should also enable

efficient utilisation of manpower and material resources

and relieve some of the uncertainties which constantly face

large shipyards.

The shipbuilding industry is of course going through a period

of uncertainty. The Tariff Board in its enquiry into the

Industry, has completed its public hearings an.d the

Government has announced that existing subsidy arrangements

will be maintained until the Tariff Iarcl report has been



Future Government decisions on the level and nature of

assistance for the industry depend on the receipt of this

report. It is an industry which has contributed a great

deal to Australian industrial development but in the

international environment in which we live it is essential

that the maintenance of this industry should not unduly

add to the costs of Australian exporters and Australian


There are other problems of concern in the shipping sector.

I have elsewhere. expressed my concern at some aspects of

the situation which has developed with the introduction of

overseas container ships. The persisting difficulties in the

container facilities at Tilbury which have already meant an

increase in outwards freight rates from the United Kingdom

are of continuing concern. There is also the delay in

commencing arrangements for the transport of container cargoes

from Tasmania and Queensland, as to which I am hopeful all

the commercial parties will give urgent consideration. There

is similar concern at the position of Albany and Portland

where negotiations on the future of the shipment of cargoes

by containers is still unresolved.

Finally I would add my own concern at the industrial disputes

which still in so many trades. affect the economies of

operation and the level of freight rates. Disputes affecting

ANL passenger vessels between the mainland and Tasmania have



created an uncertainty in the mind of tourists for the island

State. They compound the difficulties which the line is

experiencing in operating at present freight levels. In .'d^'„ ^ trades there are the disputes which have arisen over

demarcation issues. These have a marked affect on the movement

of cargoes and must result in increased costs to exporters,

shippers and consumers.

It is my belief that economies can and will be achieved

in the maritime industry. The "Amanda Miller” represents

a new effort in this direction. If she is to be successful,

taking into account the high capital cost of building in

Australia, she needs both adequate work and minimal industrial

and operational delays. Given this combination the objectives

which have inspired Sir Roderick Miler and the directors of

R.W. Miller Pty. Ltd. to this investment will be translated

not only into returns for that company°s shareholders but

also economies for fuel consumers through the Australian


Whyalla 15th January, 1970