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Tuesday, 7 May 1957

Mr OSBORNE (EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Air) - I have considered the representations and I have taken some action. I have discussed the matter with officers of the Department of Air, but have not reached a final conclusion. However, I can tell the honorable member that to make the existing facilities in use by the

Royal Australian Air Force satisfactory for future use in modern conditions by modern aircraft, an extension of the runway is inevitable. Failing this, the Air Force must leave that area and go elsewhere. 1 am informed - this is not a final figure, but merely a snap judgment by an officer of the department whom I asked - that about £10,000,000 of Commonwealth money is already invested in the Air Force installations in the district. I fully appreciate the inconvenience which will be caused to the planning of the future development of the surrounding district and should like to avoid it if I can. However, I feel a responsibility to balance the inconvenience and cost to the. local authorities in altering their plans for the future expansion of the district against the cost to the Commonwealth of uprooting existing facilities and moving them elsewhere. 1 think the decision, when I convey it to the honorable member, is almost certain to be that we regret very much that we cannot do otherwise than carry on with our plans. However, I shall let him have a final answer very soon.

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