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Tuesday, 3 June 2003
Page: 15920

Mr Murphy asked the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 14 May 2003:

(1) Is he able to say which of the following matters are matters in the public interest of direct relevance to QANTAS, the Airport Lessee Companies and the Tourism Industry: (a) the SARS Epidemic, (b) the war on Iraq, (c) the War against Terror, and (d) the events of 11 September 2001.

(2) Is he able to say how failure to heed representations going to the public interest, such as the implementation of the Precision Runway Monitoring System without heeding community warnings, will result in harm to the environment; if not, why not.

(3) Is he able to explain the ethics governing the actions of QANTAS, the Airport Lessee Companies, the Tourism Industry and Airservices Australia with respect to the financial and employment decisions of these entities in light of the adverse impacts from: (a) the SARS Epidemic, (b) the war on Iraq, (c) the War against Terror, and (d) the events of 11 September 2001.

(4) Is he able to say whether financial considerations are in fact the only delimiter to these companies' activities; if not, why not.

(5) What action is he taking to encourage these companies to adopt ethics that transcend singular financial imperatives in light of factors that deny the operation of the natural law by flagrant disregard for the public interest.

(6) Will he send a conspicuous message to QANTAS and the Airport Lessee Companies, to the effect that disregard for good corporate citizenship and failure to consider the wider public interest does not benefit a corporation in the long run and that these corporations must heed higher ethical values by giving the public interest full value; if not, why not.

Mr Anderson (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (3) and (4) Airservices Australia's activities are governed by the Airservices Act 1995, the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, the Prices Surveillance Act 1983 and regulations associated with these Acts. Qantas is subject to provisions of the Qantas Sale Act 1992. Airport Lessee Companies are subject to the Airports Act 1996. These organisations are otherwise subject to the general provisions of relevant State and Federal Law. Situations not governed by either specific or general provisions of State or Federal law are matters for the organisations concerned.

(2) The environmental impact assessment of the proposal included a full public consultation process.

(5) and (6) My office, the Department and I have regular discussions with these organisations on a variety of issues.