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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 89

Question No. 113

Mr Simmons asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 11 May 1983:

Why does the Army Survey Corps need to provide a capacity for survey and mapping, given the existence of the Division of National Mapping and other specialist agencies such as the Central Mapping Authority of New South Wales.

Mr Scholes —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Defence Force has a clear need to maintain a capacity for survey and mapping under combat conditions. This is achieved by retaining a training cadre as a basis for rapid response and expansion should the need arise. Additionally, the Australian Defence Force needs detailed specialist maps and charts at scales suitable for both strategic and tactical planning. However, with limited mapping , charting and surveying resources available to the nation, it is not possible to produce and fully maintain satisfactory maps and charts of Australian and all overseas areas of potential military significance. As a consequence, there are military priorities for map and chart production which do not necessarily correspond to civil priorities based on national development, commercial, cadastral, recreational and other requirements.

The question posed by the honourable member has been considered and examined on a number of occasions. On the last occasion, following the Review of Commonwealth Functions during which the responsibilities of Commonwealth mapping , charting and surveying authorities were examined in detail, the previous Government in October 1981 agreed that merger of Commonwealth organisations undertaking survey and mapping was not warranted.

The present Army Survey Corps organisation is considered the minimum necessary to retain a viable core force in this specialised activity. In view of the significant amount of mapping yet to be achieved, and the large and increasing task of maintaining currency by revision and resurvey of existing mapping, I am assured there is sufficient work to keep all personnel involved in these activities fully employed for many years to come.