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Tuesday, 16 November 1976
Page: 2676


Mr LLOYD (MURRAY, VICTORIA) - Has the Minister for Transport seen reports of the criticism made by the Premier of Victoria that the Federal Government is not doing enough to induce overseas Airline operators to fly into Tullamarine Airport? Can the Minister say how many overseas airlines presently fly into Tullamarine Airport and what are the arguments advanced by overseas charter operators for not wanting to land at Tullamarine Airport?


Mr NIXON (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) (Minister for Transport) - I have seen such criticism. I must point out to the House that the disparity in the number of airlines travelling into Melbourne visavis Sydney is not because of some failure on the part of myself, as Minister for Transport, or the Federal Government. It is because for some unaccountable reason Melbourne lacks the attractions of Sydney. I do not hold with that view. Nevertheless it has been put to me most strongly by international charter operators that Sydney is a much more attractive city to visit than Melbourne. In fact, I have received a request to permit 10 international Boeing 707s to come into Australia between now and Christmas. The operators have asked to be permitted to come to Sydney. I demanded of them the reasons why they could not go to Melbourne and they threatened to cancel their visits. I do not know the bohemian life of Sydney as well as does my colleague and friend the honourable member for Cook; so I cannot give the reasons why they prefer Sydney to Melbourne, but the cold fact is that they do.

Having said that, I should point out to the Premier that he has been slightly misinformed about the performance of Qantas Airways Ltd in respect of its Melbourne operations. There are now 27 Qantas flights a week to and from Melbourne and there will be 3 more Qantas flights in the new year. To come to the specific point of the honourable member's question, there are some 1 1 other international operators coming into and going out of Melbourne at the moment and two more will be coming into and going out of Melbourne either before Christmas or just after it.

The Premier was wrong on four other specific points in respect of a number of airlines. Firstly, he said that Qantas was not going to Athens or Rome or that it had only just commenced such services. It has been doing that since 1974. He should know that I have given approval for Olympic Airways to fly out of Melbourne and it will be commencing that service before Christmas. Another example is that Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd has had rights to fly into Melbourne since 1963 and has never taken up its option. I would not know what that says for Melbourne life. Jat- Jugoslav Airlines has had rights to fly into Melbourne and has never taken up its option. Japan Air Lines, which the Premier also mentioned specifically, has never sought to go to Melbourne. I think the campaign that Councillor Ron Walker, Mayor of Melbourne, embarked upon to make Melbourne a much more attractive city, was a very good idea. That may be the only way we can get more flights out of Sydney and into Melbourne.







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