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Thursday, 8 April 1965

Senator MAHER (Queensland) .- On this motion, Mr. President, 1 should like to- say a few words. The Brisbane " Telegraph " of Friday, 2nd instant, named all the Queensland members of the Commonwealth Parliament under the heading -

Speak. Now or Forever-

The heading stops at that point, so we may assume that the complete quotation would be: " Speak now or forever after hold your peace ". I therefore propose to speak, as requested. The newspaper complains about what it terms " our outmoded conglomeration of wartime igloos " at the Brisbane Airport. Let me say that the Brisbane Airport was the first in Australia to have a runway suitable for large international jet airliners. It has not been neglected. Already £4.3 million has been spent on it and works to the extent of £1.1 million are now proceeding there. In the suburban area of Amberley, the Royal Australian Air Force is having done work estimated to cost £3.9 million over the next four years. I ask the Senate which should take priority in these dangerous years - expenditure on the Royal Australian Air Force base at Amberley or the demolition of the existing airport buildings and their replacement by an elegant set of air terminal buildings for airline passengers? The existing igloo buildings are most commodious and comfortable for the people who use the airlines. I have had a close look at the air terminal buildings in all the capital cities in Australia. Those in Sydney or Melbourne are cer tainly much larger than the buildings in Brisbane, but for general comfort and convenience they are no better.

The igloo type of building has the advantage of high ceilings and open breezeways which make conditions very pleasant in summer conditions in Brisbane. To demolish the existing buildings and erect a new modern air terminal would involve a cost of anything from £5 million to £10 million. Surely there are better ways of expending money of that kind in Queensland than in pulling down a thoroughly serviceable set of buildings which meet all the needs of the present time. I am sure that Mr. Nicklin would be delighted to have £5 million or £10 million with which to cope with water conservation problems in this droughty period in Queensland and such expenditure would give a far better return to the people of that State than would the erection of elaborate buildings which are not immediately and urgently necessary. Nevertheless, in this rapidly expanding air age, the Commonwealth Government has plans for the replacement of the present buildings by a more modern terminal, the conduction of which is to be commenced within approximately the next five years.

The existing building area at Brisbane is 70 acres and a new area nearby - 200 acres - has been acquired to accommodate a modern terminal. It needs time to level this area off and reclaim low-lying country. Aprons, taxi-ways, car parks and roads must be laid down before buildings can be raised. The proposed modern airport terminal includes provision for international needs. The Commonwealth Government is proceeding steadily towards this target. All this takes time and we should keep in mind the old maxim: " Rome was not built in a day". Brisbane stands to benefit when our turn for modernisation of buildings at the Brisbane Airport comes around because air traffic is expanding at such a phenomena] rate that five years hence such buildings will require to be larger and better equipped than those now in use in other States of the Commonwealth.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 4.39 p.m. rill Tuesday, 27th April 1965.

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