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Tuesday, 6 April 1965

Senator HENTY (TASMANIA) (Minister for Civil Aviation) - Yes, I did notice that the Queensland Press had voiced such criticism for the second time in four weeks. I had the pleasure recently of spending a weekend in that great State; I was a guest at the Mackay festival for three days. It was a very good festival. I think that in the Press there has been some misunderstanding of the report on the programme of airport development I made to the Senate. In making that report I said that a programme of expenditure of £30 million, approved during the regime of my predecessor for the development of airports at Melbourne and Sydney, had been revised because it had become apparent that the buildings planned on the basis of the statistics for the period of 10 years prior to 1962 would not be sufficient to carry the present and projected traffic during the coming 10 years.

We had to re-orientate our views and make plans to double the sizes of the buildings at the airports at Melbourne and Sydney. To do so will raise the cost of the programme from £30 million to about £47.5 million. I said in my report to the Senate that at this stage the Government had approved of the development of the Tullamarine and Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airports and had referred the rest of the programme for consideration by an inter-departmental committee. It is hoped to have the results of the committee's deliberations in time for preparation of the civil works programme to be included in the next Budget.

Press reports have stated, quite wrongly, that additional grants have been made to various States for airports. Nothing of the sort has occurred. The programme is planned to cover a five year period to 1969 because of the statistical background in relation to the development of passenger traffic at the international airport at Sydney, and the international and domestic airport at Melbourne. The information available shows that it will be necessary to double the sizes of the buildings at those airports. The Government has approved of the increased expenditure which will be incurred and the rest of the programme is in abeyance.

In the honorable senator's question she referred to criticism in the Queensland Press which ducked the figures of the estimated cost of development of the Melbourne and

Sydney airports, lt referred only to proposed expenditure of £300,000 in Queensland. I shall tell honorable senators what work is proceeding at present in Queensland. Wc are providing £540,000 for a long range radar system; £185,000 for communications facilities to serve air traffic at Brisbane airport; a further £200,000 for the new operations centre; £50,000 to provide power for the operations centre; and £40,000 for roads and parking areas for the road traffic which is increasing at Brisbane airport. Without going any further, I point out to the Senate that the total expenditure on work in hand in Queensland at present is £1,077,000, in addition to the sum of £4,328,000 which the Commonwealth has already spend on Brisbane airport. During the last five years the Department of Civil Aviation has spent about £2 million on the development of Commonwealth owned airports in Queensland; £840,000 by way of grants to local authorities for the development of locallyowned aerodromes; and £1,110,000 for the development of navigational aids and control facilities. This expenditure totals nearly £4 million. Queensland has nine airports capable of handling Viscount aircraft, a greater number than any other State.

I have mentioned these things because I think the report I made to the Senate has been taken quite out of context by the Press and because in her question the honorable senator referred to Brisbane. Only two weeks ago in the Senate I congratulated the two domestic airlines on what they had done for the development of domestic airports, particularly at Brisbane. The airlines might not like the " igloo " type of terminal, but they have made the buildings most comfortable and have done a very good job in developing the facilities available. I should think it would be sufficient to deal with the traffic for three, four, five, or six years ahead; I am not tying myself down to a number. I have made no secret of the fact that I have been disappointed with the facilities at the international terminal. We are already spending money on refurnishing and bringing this section up to a better standard for international passengers. We have already acquired 200 acres to the south of the Brisbane airport. It is the intention of the Department, as soon as it gets the facilities and the cash in the new five-year programme, to develop an entirely new international terminal there. We cannot just start these things, doing part of a building here, part of a building there and part of a building somewhere else. Once we start to bring an airport up to date we have to do the work in its entirety. We are doing this at the moment in New South Wales. Victoria will share in the next five-year programme.

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