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Thursday, 14 September 1972
Page: 818

Senator TOWNLEY (TASMANIA) I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. No doubt the Minister is aware that the apple and pear industry has a conservative ship-side value to Tasmania of some SI 5m per annum and, that at the moment production is at a minimum necessary to sustain services and facilities, notably the reasonable export shipping programme to serve the potential markets. Is the Minister aware that many Tasmanians feel that the Commonwealth Government has chosen to ignore all Tasmania's previous submissions in relation to the State's dependence upon sea transport? Does the Minister realise that, if the apple and pear industry is allowed to fall any lower, it could well collapse totally? Will he attempt to have the Commonwealth

Goverment ease the burden of sea freight rates between Tasmania and this larger island?

Senator COTTON - I am well aware of the great importance of the apple and pear industry to the State of Tasmania. I am quite conscious of that. I think that in the examination of the shipping freight question to which the honourable senator referred there are 2 facets to be considered. Shipping to the Australian mainland was regarded by the Senate standing committee as not being a service which could usefully be subsidised. It was thought that other remedies could be better applied, and the Senate agrees with the Committee. The question of export shipping freights is a matter for negotiation between the shippers of the Australian Apple and Pear Board. But nonetheless, having regard to the seriousness of the matter and its importance to Tasmania, I will refer the balance of the question and the request to the responsible Minister.

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