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Thursday, 11 October 1973
Page: 1933

Mr SNEDDEN (BRUCE, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to either the Minister for Transport, the Minister for Secondary Industry or the Minister for Overseas Trade, whoever is the appropriate Minister. I would like to have the demarcation dispute resolved by the Minister who answers the question. What ship construction orders will be placed and when will these be placed to ensure the continuance of employment in the shipbuilding industry in Maryborough in the electorate of Wide Bay and thus ensure the viability of this town as a centre for decentralised growth?

Mr CHARLES JONES - It is perfectly true that an order was placed with the Williamstown naval dockyard for the construction of a ship which I believe would normally have gone to Maryborough. As a result of representations made to me by the honourable member for Wide Bay and at his invitation I recently visited Maryborough, had a discussion with the management of Walkers Ltd shipyard and received certain assurances from it. The Minister for Defence and myself have had a number of discussions as late as yesterday on this matter and we are hopeful that at a very early date satisfactory orders will be placed with Walkers shipyard so that it can go on with the job of building ships. I give this assurance to Walkers Ltd, to the workers in its employ and to the honourable member for Wide Bay: As far as I am concerned Walkers is one shipyard I certainly do not want to see closed. It is a first class yard which in the past has built very good small ships, and we are hoping that in the future it will continue with that work. The problem that was created was the result of its tendering on the basis of dividing its overhead charges between 2 jobs. Because of the transfer of the order to another yard those overhead charges would have been loaded on to one job. As I said, the Minister for Defence and myself are hopeful of having before the end of this week a very satisfactory answer.

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