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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1823

Senator ALSTON —My question is directed to the Minister for Finance. Despite the Minister's earlier straight bat on the subject, I refer to recent news reports that the Government is seriously considering the sale of airport terminal facilities, and that Ansett Airlines joint-chairman, Sir Peter Abeles, has already privately offered to buy out Ansett's current leases for $100m. Are these reports true? If so, does this mean that the July 1986 national platform of the Australian Labor Party rejecting the concept of privatisation is no longer operative? On what basis does the Government suggest that the current market value or net present value of public instrumentalities should be assessed? Does the Minister agree that the sale of terminals to an existing airline operator would be likely to constitute a significant barrier to entry for new airlines in the event of a decision to deregulate the airline industry?

Senator WALSH —Senator Alston said effectively that he did not expect me to answer this question, and he is right. I am not going to confirm or deny the latest piece of self-generated or received gossip that the media is running on this day or any other day.