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Tuesday, 22 August 1972
Page: 281

Senator O'BYRNE (Tasmania) - We on this side of the Senate welcome this Bill to amend the Lighthouses Act. Its purpose is to transfer power over lighthouses in Papua New Guinea to the Government of the Territory. We view it as a further step towards self government and the eventual independence of the Territory of Papua New Guinea and its people. We believe that it is of paramount importance that Australia do everything possible to ensure that on achieving independence Papua New Guinea is a friendly neighbour. This measure is an indication of our determination to make this friendship enduring. It is virtually a machinery measure covering navigation, which is a vital segment of administrative responsibility in relation to the waters of an island mass. I pay tribute to the Commonwealth Department of Shipping and Transport for the very high standards that it has achieved and maintained through 'he years in the marine navigation installations in Papua New Guinea.

The actual date of the transfer of power has yet to be decided, but the transfer will be made at an appropriate time. The Australian Government has offered to continue its interest in matters relating to marine navigation in the Territory. This should be of great assistance to the Administration of Papua New Guinea as it will enable the training of technicians and facilitate a smooth change-over of responsibility. The Bill will remove all reference to the Territory of Papua New Guinea from the Lighthouses Act but it is my view that the friendly light to guide the mariner will continue to send out its beam as usual, despite the historic administrative changes taking place in this area. We do not oppose the measure.

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