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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 3368


Mr ERWIN (BALLAARAT, VICTORIA) - I wish to ask a question of Minister for Defence. Is it correct that the Airfield Construction Squadron of the Royal

Australian Air Force, which can construct an airstrip suitable for front line fighters in 7 days, has been disbanded by the Government? How does he propose in any future conflict that RAAF forward airstrips be constructed?


Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) (Minister for Defence) - The Airfield Construction Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force is currently extending the airfield at Learmonth. That work is due for completion in 1974. After the work has been completed there will be no work of a comparable nature that would justify the continuation of the Royal Australian Air Force Airfield Construction Squadron in Australia. It has the capability, as I think the honourable member mentioned, to construct an airfield within a period of 7 days, using equipment that is designed to meet an emergency requirement. Sufficient equipment is available in Australia for this to be done during an emergency. However in order to continue the existence of the Royal Australian Air Force Airfield Construction Squadron, I have initiated inquiries to ascertain whether it is possible to justify the use and retention of the squadron in assisting developing countries in their aid programs. This inquiry now is under way and when the information is available to me a decision will be made on whether the squadron should be disbanded or retained.







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