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Wednesday, 21 October 1964


Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) .- There are two points I want to raise. The first refers to Division No. 135 - Administrative. These are points that have been raised by the Premier of South Australia. They concern the intrastate air routes of South Australia, and the arrival and departure schedules of aircraft in South Australia. What is happening with Airlines of South Australia Pty. Ltd. is a complete repudiation of everything that the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) said about the controversial . issue concerning Airlines of New South Wales Pty. Ltd. and East-West Airlines Ltd. The Minister said: " We believe in two airline competition." But we find on intrastate air services in South Australia that there is not a two airline competition; there is a monopoly.

The fact that the Minister has control over intrastate air services in South Australia was mentioned in the debate recently on the motion for the disallowance of the Air Navigation Regulations. South Australia has never exercised the right, which as a State it may have, to control air routes in South Australia, but has left the control to the Federal Government. It. has acknowledged control by the Department of Civil Aviation by virtue of the fact that the Department has to sanction an application which was made by TransAustralia Airlines to operate an intrastate air service in South Australia. Before this Government took office, the Labour Government had T.A.A. operating in competition with Australian National Airways Pty. Ltd. The Minister said this would have led to a monopoly of airlines in Australia, which was contrary to the policy of this Government. That is somewhat correct.


Senator Henty - It is not somewhat correct; it is perfectly correct.


Senator CAVANAGH - There are some modifications. The Labour Government fostered government enterprise in the airlines and set up T.A.A. to engage in free competition with an alternative airline service. The Government believes in free competition in every other field of industry, but it does not believe in it so far as airline services are concerned. Because of the efficient administration of T.A.A and because of the support by the Government of its quasi-government airline service, eventually a monopoly would have been established. If we take the Postal Department as an example, there is no suggestion that we should have competition in the delivery of letters. Such an airline, policy would lead, not to a monopoly, as the Minister said but to the establishment of a government department, lt would not be one of the monopolies which Labour opposes and which necessitate the introduc-tion of restrictive trade practices legislation.

In South Australia we find that a two airline intrastate policy has not been carried on. The only reason I can see for that is that the Federal Government has the sole control of the allocation of air routes. Although the Department of Civil Aviation talks about rationalising routes in New South Wales, it is not adopting the same policy in South Australia. One of the questions raised by the Premier of South Australia is: Why cannot T.A.A. operate an intrastate air service in South Australia for the purpose of running in competition with AnsettA.N.A., or dividing the routes in South Australia? Much to my surprise, I have found that Airlines of South Australia is not a subsidised airline, which indicates that it operates on profitable routes. T.A.A. is entitled to a share of these profitable routes.

Another important factor that has been raised is that of on-carriage bookings whereby country passengers book interstate. Because Ansett-A.N.A. has a complete monopoly of intrastate air services in South Australia, it has a decided advantage over T.A.A. so far as on-carriage bookings are concerned. The Minister, in reply to a question I asked, said that T.A.A. had made an application to operate intrastate air services in South Australia. The Premier of South Australia, who has the interests of the State at heart, supported the application, and now has publicly complained that the Department of Civil Aviation will not allow T.A.A. to operate an intrastate air service in South Australia on routes which would not call for a subsidy at all. In view of the Minister's action in New South Wales and his statement that the Government wants to rationalise air routes, I ask him to apply that policy in South Australia.

The other question I desire to raise comes under Division No. 140, sub-division 1, item 01 - Aerodromes. This is another matter that has been commented on by the Premier of South Australia. While the aerodrome facilities at most of our major airports are insufficient to meet the requirements of the travelling public, they are insufficient only at certain brief periods. This, is brought about by the fact that aircraft belonging to these alleged competing companies arrive and depart at the same time. When the Minister was asked a question on this aspect he said that it was a matter for the airline companies. But the Department of Civil Aviation is providing the runways and the airport facilities for the passengers. Instead of expending money on extensions to these facilities from time to time, if there were a method of regulating the arrival and departure of aircraft it would help to solve the problem.

There are terrific problems at the airports in South Australia, but they occur only for brief periods of the day. We should get away from the requirement that T.A.A. aircraft and Ansett-A.N.A. aircraft must arrive together and take off together. It would suit the travelling public to have alternative timetables. The choking of airport services would be alleviated, and a lot of the congestion that now occurs would disappear. As I have said, the Premier of South Australia has commented on this matter. Although the airline companies have the right to arrange their own schedules, 1 think that the Department of Civil Aviation in view of the amount of money it spends in providing airport facilities, should look into the question and try to get the airline companies to adopt alternative procedures so that aircraft belonging to the two major airlines arrive and depart at different times.







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