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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 1956

Senator WRIGHT (TASMANIA) -I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. Has he noticed in the Australian National Line's annual report which was circulated to us yesterday that the Line made a loss of $955,000 for the year on its coastal trading? Has he noticed that increased wages and cost of conditions for the year amounted to $829,000, almost- not quitethe amount of the loss? Has any decision been made to increase freight rates to overtake that loss and the increased cost of $3. 5m adumbrated by the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission? Is any increase in freight rates intended by the Government?

Senator CAVANAGH -The question of meeting increased costs is one for decision by the Australian National Line with the permission of the Government. I noticed that the Line made a profit of some $3m, I believe, although there was a loss on coastal trading. I do not know whether the honourable senator's suggestion is that there should be an increase in the cost of cargoes for coastal trading. That matter has not been given consideration by the Minister for Transport at this stage. Why the matter of the increase in wages during the year came into the question, I do not know, because although it may have some relevance, I do not think it follows that because there was an increase in wages naturally the losses of the Line must increase. I know of no decision to increase freight rates.

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