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Wednesday, 19 September 1973
Page: 1223

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - The Minister for Defence will recall informing this House yesterday that the siting of Sydney's second airport at Galston will cause - I use his words - difficulties for the Royal Australian Air Force base at Richmond. I ask the Minister to outline the nature of those difficulties. I ask him further: Will this decision contravene the standards set for air safety by the Department of Civil Aviation? Will this decision restrict the operational capacity of the RAAF base? If the Minister is unable now to answer precisely the questions relating to air standards and the Richmond base's operational capacity, will he explain to this House how the Government could possibly have taken a decision on the site of Sydney's second airport without knowledge of the full facts?

Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) (Minister for Defence) - I informed the Deputy Leader of the Opposition yesterday that I had received a document from the Department of Defence concerning the Richmond air base. All that I want to say about this matter at this stage is that it is a confidential document. It will, of course, be considered together with other documents following the feasibility study that will be carried out on the Galston site. Until that time the information contained in the document is confidential and it will be considered by the Government in due course. What I can say to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is that any difficulties to which I referred yesterday can be overcome.

Mr Lynch - Tell us what the difficulties are.

Mr BARNARD - I repeat for the benefit of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that any difficulties to which I referred yesterday can be overcome and they will be overcome. As the honourable member knows, no decision has been made on the airport at Galston. A feasibility study is to be carried out and it will be considered in due course. As I indicated yesterday to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the studies that will be conducted by the Department of Defence at the same time will be considered in conjunction with that feasibility study.

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