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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 3674

Mr Nixon asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice:

(1)   Is the Australian Government negotiating for the purchase or takeover of the State railway systems.

(2)   If so, which States are involved in discussions with the Australian Government.

(3)   What stage have negotiations reached with each State.

Mr Charles Jones - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   On 8 February the Prime Minister wrote to all the State Premiers indicating the Australian Government's willingness to accept responsibility for the railways of any State that is prepared to offer them, subject to mutually satisfactory terms.

(2)   South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales agreed to enter discussions on the matter without commitment.

(3)   Discussions with South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia are well under way. Discussions with New South Wales are expected to commence at the end of this month. As a result of these discussions an interim report will be made pointing out the main issues involved, to enable the two Governments involved to make a decision in principle on whether to proceed with negotiations for a transfer.

The report on the South Australian railways is expected to be completed shortly, the report on the Tasmanian Government railways should be completed before the end of the year and the report on the Western Australian Government railways should be completed shortly after that.

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