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Tuesday, 6 December 1983
Page: 3247

Mr SIMMONS —Is the Minister for Communications aware of claims being made by certain individuals and organisations that a new telecommunications tower being constructed on Mount Canobolas in central western New South Wales will make the city of Orange a nuclear target? Will the Minister inform the House of the exact purpose of this telecommunications tower?

Mr DUFFY —I have seen the newspaper articles referred to by the honourable member for Calare suggesting that the Telecom Australia relay tower could be used for military purposes and that it could be a target in the event of a nuclear war. The fact of the matter is that the tower is part of a radio communications link that will be used purely for scientific purposes and for civilian communications . It is not associated with strategic or defence requirements. Telecom is erecting three new radio stations, one of which is to be located at Mount Canobolas, in order to provide a radio link between the radio telescope at Parkes and the deep space tracking station outside Canberra. Once established, the radio communications station will also serve a microwave repeater station for the telecommunications network. It will also accommodate other facilities operated by Telecom for the general community. I am informed that Telecom has consulted also with interested environmental bodies which have been interested in this matter, that it has prepared an impact study and that Australian Heritage Commission approval has also been obtained. In respect of the main point raised by the honourable member, I assure him that the tower referred to is not part of any military exercise and is in fact merely a part of the radio communications link.