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Wednesday, 12 October 1927

Senator THOMPSON (Queensland) . - I should like to ascertain from the Minister what are the Government's proposals with regard to establishing, aerodromes at Rockhampton and Townsville. The people atRockhampton are particularly anxious to have this matter settled. The purchase of a site would be regarded as an earnest of the Government's intention to do something in the direction indicated.

Senator Sir WILLIAMGLASGOW (Queensland - Minister for Defence) [9.2]. - In reply to Senator Chapman, I may say that the amount provided in the bill is for aerodrome sites and emergency landing grounds between Perth and Adelaide.

Senator Sampson - £5,700w ill not go very far.

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - That is true; but I remind the honorable senator that £200,000 was allocated from the surplus of the last financial year for the establishment of new air routes.

Senator Sampson - Then this item is in addition to the sum mentioned by the Minister ?

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - Yes. The item now under consideration represents expenditure out of loan: The first new air route to be established will be from Perth to Adelaide. Very shortly tenders will be called for that work, andI am hoping, that the service will be in operation at an early date. It is expected that before long the machines flying on that route will be carrying from 5 cwt. to 6 cwt. of firstclass mail matter. It will be the first aerial mail service in the Commonwealth to be self-supporting, because of the large amount of mail matter to be handled. In reply to the question raised by Senator Thompson, the only aerodromes to be provided by the Commonwealth are on routes already established or on routes which we contemplate establishing; but the Government is prepared to assist, by way of advice, any municipality that decides to secure a reserve in its district.

Senator Thompson - Does not the Government propose to look after the coast line?

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - It would be impossible to establishlish aerodromes in the various ports of the Commonwealth. If we were obliged to secure sites in all the larger towns, we should very quickly expend the whole of the £200,000 allocated from the surplus for the establishment of air services.

Senator Thompson - Would the Government build an aerodrome if a municipality provided the site?

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - What would be the use of building hangars on aerodrome sites if there was only a spasmodic service to be provided for?

Senator Thompson - There should be a good service on the coast.

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - It is difficult enough now to find all the money required for those areas which boast of aero clubs, and on the established air routes. It is not proposed, therefore, to secure other sites in even the larger towns throughout the Commonwealth.

Proposed vote agreed to.

The Department of Trade and Customs.

Proposed vote, £56,508.

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