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Thursday, 6 October 1927

Senator REID (Queensland) -- I should like to be furnished with information relating to civil aviation. Has the service been extended from Derby to Wyndham in Western Australia; also, what steps are being taken to extend it from. Camooweal to Brunette Downs in the Northern Territory, as well as from Charleville to Toowoomba and thence to Brisbane, thus completing a chain of stations that would encircle the .continent. The Government should grant every assistance that lies within its power to enable the service to be extended from Wyndham to Darwin, and from that place to Brunette Downs. If we had a network of stations, we should be in a position to take full advantage of any improvement in the service from England to Australia.

Senator Sir WILLIAMGLASGOW (Queensland - Minister for Defence) [4.49.]- The sum of £200,000 is to be made available out .of last year's surplus for the extension of civil aviation. The first service to be put in operation will be that from Adelaide to Perth. It will bring Western Australia into closer communication with the eastern States, and will reduce by one week the time that is now occupied in the transport of mails between England and Australia and vice versa.

Senator Thompson - Will they carry mails?

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - It will be primarily a service to reduce the time of mails between the Old Country and Australia; but only mail matter, carrying a surcharge of 3d. per half-ounce, will be carried. It is also proposed to extend the service from Camooweal, on the border of North Australia and Queensland, to a point near Daly Waters, on a line running south from Darwin. That service will be of great benefit to residents in those remote parts of the country, and will reduce from two months to a fortnight the time occupied in the conveyance of mails from the eastern States to North Australia and return. Another service which will connect the Queensland system with the capital - a very important consideration - will run from Charleville to Brisbane. It is also proposed to institute a seaplane service between Brisbane and Sydney. A further service will be instituted between Sydney and Melbourne, via Canberra ; while yet another will connect Melbourne and Hobart. For the service across Bass Strait it is proposed to use the Southampton flying boats, which are expected to arrive in Australia towards the end of the present year. That service will, at first, be largely experimental. A further extension of the Western Australian airway services to connect Derby with Wyndham is also contemplated. I point out that it will take some time to establish these services, chiefly because the whole of the ground organization, such as the provision of aerodromes and permanent as well as temporary landing places, has yet to be prepared.

Senator Sampson - Will the experimental service to Tasmania be carried out by the Air Force?

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - It is proposed to use the new flying boats in the service to Tasmania; but, seeing that there are not as yet many seaplane services operating in the world, it will be necessary to carry out a certain amount of reconnaissance and experimental work before we can establish that service.

Senator Sampson - Will the machines have triple engines?

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - They will be dual-engined machines. Honorable senators will recognize that during the winter months Bass Strait will be difficult to navigate, because of fogs. It will take some time to get these services established on the same reliable and punctual basis as the existing services; but the Government is keenly desirious of utlizing this new and efficient means of transport to bring the outback portions of the Commonwealth into closer touch with the more settled districts, and to expedite communications generally. The service between Perth and Adelaide will be a very important link in the chain between Britain and Australia, seeing that it will reduce by one week the time in which replies to letters may be obtained. If a reasonable percentage of first-class mail matter be sent by the new service, it should not be long before it is almost self-supporting. So soon as the ground organization has been completed, tenders for these services will be invited. Care will be taken to give intending tenderers sufficient time to prepare their estimates, and also to ensure that the successful tenderers can be relied upon to carry out their contracts.

Senator Sampson - Will the same apply to the service to Tasmania?


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