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Friday, 3 December 1965

Mr FAIRBAIRN (Farrer) (Minister for National Development) . - I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This is a Bill for an act to amend the Air Navigation (Charges) Act 1952-1964 for the purpose of securing an increase in the revenue from the various operators and owners of aircraft who make use of aerodromes and other facilities for air navigation provided, maintained and operated by the Commonwealth. It is the Government's policy to move progressively towards the ultimate full recovery of that part of the cost of providing facilities that is properly attributable to the industry. Each year a careful review is made of the ability of the industry to absorb and increase in charges. Increases are not made automatically but, in the present case, the increase of 10% has been decided as fair and reasonable. For 1964-65 actual revenue from air navigation charges was £2.218 million. With the 10% increase now proposed and with higher revenues resulting from natural growth in the industry, it is extimated that total revenue for 1965-66 will be some £2.839 million.

This Bill does not change the method of assessing charges but simply increases by 10% the unit charges which are based on the weight of the aircraft. The new scale of charges will be applied to all domestic and international airlines and to charter, aerial work and private operators. Operators of light aircraft will pay in total an increase of less than £5,000. The Act previously referred to the weight of the aircraft as that specified in its certificate of airworthiness. With the change in the form of the certificate of airworthiness, the weight does not always appear in this document and thus this source is no longer appropriate. This Bill now provides that the Director-General of Civil Aviation may, by notice in the Commonwealth Gazette, fix the weight of aircraft and the charges will be based on the weights so fixed. Where there are limitations on the weight at which an aircraft may operate from particular aerodromes, the Director-General may prescribe a weight for the aircraft at that place which will take into account the limitations of its operating weight. This Bill includes some amendments of the machinery provisions designed to specify more clearly the obligation of certain aircraft operators to pay the respective charges. I commend the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Beazley) adjourned.

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