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Wednesday, 21 October 1964

Senator HENTY (Tasmania) (Minister for Civil Aviation) . - Senator McClelland raised what is really an important question when he referred to the air space over Sydney. This is a particularly difficult area. As he pointd out, there is a naval station at Nowra, and an Air Force station at Richmond, both of which carry out defence training. There is a very big light aircraft industry at Bankstown, and there is, [ think, a military establishment at Williamtown which does a certain amount of firing of military weapons. All of these establishments are around Sydney, and this gives us some worry in bringing aircraft into Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) airport. From the north, all of them have to be directed through what one might call the eye of a needle. Even international planes are taken north and brought down through this eye of a needle. We have outstations, directed from the control tower, which hold these aircraft sometimes 20 or 30 miles out at various heights, so that all will not come in at the one time.

There is a difficulty in Sydney, and we have had a top level conference about it with the Defence authorities and other authorities concerned. By agreement we can now ring the military authorities and ask them to cease fire. I think they fire at Williamtown to about 3,000 feet. If we get any congestion we ring and they cease fire. They co-operate with us in every way. We get similar co-operation at Nowra and Bankstown. There has been a vast improvement and this will continue because Mascot will have a very big airport and will continue to grow as the traffic increases. We have to keep this in mind constantly.

The honorable senator mentioned taxi cabs at Sydney airport. I understand that the hire car service won the tender for the concession there and a passenger can engage a hire car from the aircraft because of that concession. Passengers can get taxis at the airport when they are available, but there is a shortage of them at times. However, I shall direct the attention of the airlines to this matter because three honorable senators have referred to it. We want to give a better service if we can.

Senator Wedgwoodmentioned the provision for a residence at Montreal. This is being acquired for the permanent Australian representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Last year the expenditure was £1,731, but the proposed vote is £40,000. This represents the balance due on the purchase of the residence and the estimated cost of furnishing it. I queried this figure myself, but I have been informed that property values in Montreal are very high and the expenditure is not out of the way for the type of residence which our representative on the Organisation should have.

Senator Lillicoreferred to the use of Fokker Friendship aircraft to raise the standard of service to Flinders Island and King Island. I understood that Fokker Friendship aircraft were operating to King Island. I thought that the aerodrome had been brought up to that standard, but I cannot confirm this impression. Unfortunately I did not visit King Island when I toured Tasmanian airports recently because we had trouble on the West Coast when three inches of rain fell and we had to travel out by taxi. I was unable to visit King Island, but I am under the impression that the aerodrome there has been raised to DC4 standard. I will get that information for the honorable senator. We are constantly raising the standard of the airstrip at Flinders Island and hope to have it up to DC4 standard soon. Work of this kind depends on passenger traffic because it is expensive and cannot be undertaken unless the traffic warrants it.

Senator Lillico - Are those two services subsidised?

Senator HENTY - I think both runs are subsidised. There is no competition on either of them. Senator O'Byrne referred to the training of pilots. As I have said, the provision for aero clubs has been altered. Under Division No. 144, provision is made for aero clubs and gliding clubs. A bonus of £37 10s. per person is payable to clubs or schools for every private pilot's licence issued to trainees under 30 years of age and £56 5s. is payable for each commercial pilot's licence issued and £18 15s. for each first instructor rating. Payment is also made at the following hourly rates for each hour flown in club or school aircraft by student pilots up to 30 years of age and private or commercial licence holders: Home station, lis. 3d. per hour for both club and school aircraft; away from home station, j 5s. per hour for club aircraft and lis. 3d. per hour for school aircraft.

Senator Buttfield - Does that cover the whole of their flying time?

Senator HENTY - It is a bonus until they get their licence but the cost to the trainees is more than that. This is assistance granted to them and does not cover the whole cost of training. They have to find the rest themselves. Most domestic airlines are now setting out to train pilots and younger persons coming on who want to be pilots. There is a scarcity because of the sudden development of air travel in Australia. lt has leapt ahead in the past year or two and the demand is greater than the supply. Only last week a domestic airline bought a simulator at a cost of about £800,000 for the training of pilots for its own airline. This matter is in hand now although I agree it has- been neglected in the past. Both our overseas airline Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. and the two internal airlines, as well as the aero clubs, have this matter well to the fore and are doing what they can to train Australian pilots for the Australian airline services.

Senator McClelland - What about the air traffic controllers?

Senator HENTY - I do not think we have the same trouble in obtaining those officers. We have recently had quite an influx of them into the Department of Civil Aviation and I do not think there is any great shortage.

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