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Wednesday, 18 March 1987
Page: 1028

Mrs KELLY —I address my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce. Is the Minister aware that a unique Australian glider has been developed and is arriving in Canberra today as part of a promotion to try to receive some Federal Government funding for its production? What action does the Minister intend to take to ensure that this valuable Australian asset, which has significant potential to generate export income, receives appropriate government support to realise its full potential?

Mr BARRY JONES —I am aware that the ES-65 sail plane called the Platypus, which is a curious name for an aerial creature, is currently visiting Canberra on a promotional tour. However, to the best of my knowledge no formal request for funding for its production has yet been received by the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce. The sail plane's developer, Edmund Schneider Pty Ltd, has already received support under the former Australian industrial research and development incentive scheme for design, test and development of the plane. A sum of $109,150 was allocated to the project, of which $93,000 has been paid to date. The Government wants to see the development of commercially viable aerospace activities. It expects to receive a special report on aerospace export potential from the tripartite working group and will then announce some decisions based on the group's advice. There is some reason to believe that, given the depreciation of the dollar in the past two years, especially its depreciation against the Deutsche mark, Australia is well placed to compete in the domestic and overseas market for gliders and other light planes. We will look at this matter with considerable interest and I know that it will be shared by the Minister for Aviation.