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Wednesday, 18 March 1987
Page: 878

Senator DURACK —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Minister for Aviation. I refer the Minister to the Government's decision to award the new coastwatch contract to Amman Aviation rather than to continue with the previous operator, Skywest Airlines Pty Ltd. I refer to comments by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots that Amman has `never been heard of in the industry'. Is the Government concerned that this will make it difficult for Amman to recruit suitably qualified pilots? Is it a fact that the successful tenderer does not have an office, is not a registered company and is still awaiting delivery of aircraft to be used in this vital surveillance service, and that when the aircraft finally arrive they will have to undergo modifications? What steps were taken to ensure that Amman had the technical, financial and human resources necessary to perform the service?

Senator GIETZELT —I became aware of the issue raised by Senator Durack a few minutes before Question Time today by reading the Canberra Times. I think that the best response that one can make, having regard to the fact that there is no information in my briefing papers, is to say that the proper tendering arrangements were carried out when the Government dealt with this matter. There is a difference of view between the successful tenderer and the person who did not get his price in line with the person who won the contract. Consequently, there has been a reaction by Skywest. The Minister gave an assurance that proper tendering arrangements had been carried out in these matters. I will ask the Minister whether he wants to make any further comments.

Senator DURACK —I ask a supplementary question, Mr President. The Minister said that he did not have a briefing paper or information about this. I would like him to tell us how he knew that proper tendering procedures had been followed.

Senator GIETZELT —Because that is government policy, and that is what Mr Morris said.