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Wednesday, 30 March 1966

Mr FAIRHALL (PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Defence) - As a former Minister for Supply and as Minister for Defence, I have had the responsibility for looking very carefully into the ability of the armed Services to service their modern equipment. It is true that the new ships and aircraft of all classes, including the Mirage and FI IIA aircraft, use a good deal of quite complex electronic and other equipment. Having looked carefully into this matter, I am satisfied as to the capacity of Australian industry, together with the Services - it will be a matter predominantly for the Services - to service completely this equipment. As regards some missiles, as the honorable gentleman may remember, an announcement was made that we were setting up a service centre for guided missiles. Information about the equipment for some missiles is held closely by the manufacturing contractor. Nevertheless, the whole of the information necessary to service this equipment is made available to the Australian Government. At present, the Department of Supply holds all of this information, so it is not true to say that we need outside help to service our defence equipment. I do not propose to table the contracts.

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