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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 111

Question No. 263


Mr Gayler asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 26 May 1983:

Has he received advice from the Royal Australian Navy concerning the proposal that a further 5 patrol boats be built for surveillance of Australia's northern coastline; if so, what was the advice and has action been taken to conclude contracts with North Queensland Engineers and Agents of Cairns, Queensland, for their construction.


Mr Scholes —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The requirements of surveillance of Australia's coastline are determined by national considerations and priorities which include, but are not confined to defence. As announced on 9 May last, Mr Beazley, as Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence is to conduct a wide-ranging review of the Commonwealth's current coastal surveillance arrangements which will deal, amongst other matters with the question of increased patrol boat numbers. This review was jointly requested by the Minister for Transport and myself and we expect to receive Mr Beazley's report by the end of the Budget session of Parliament.

The question of the timing of placement of orders is dependent on the availability of funds, existing commitments and priorities within Navy and Defence requirements.