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Monday, 4 June 1984
Page: 2411

Senator GIETZELT (Minister for Veterans' Affairs) —I seek leave to make a brief statement in relation to a certain question asked of me in the debate on coastal surveillance in the Senate on 10 May.

Leave granted.

Senator GIETZELT —Senator Peter Rae asked me on 10 May 1984 to refer the proceedings of the debate on the report of the Review of Australia's Peace Time Coastal Surveillance and Protection Arrangements to the Minister for Transport ( Mr Peter Morris) with a request that a reply be given to the Senate on matters raised. The Minister for Transport has provided a reply to the honourable senator's question. If it pleases the Senate, I seek leave to incorporate the reply in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows-

Why was the contract for aerial surveillance of the Great Barrier Reef taken from AireSearch Pty Ltd?

Answer-The contract was not taken from AireSearch Pty Ltd. The contract that company held expired on 30 April 1984 after having been extended on several occasions.

Why was the contract awarded to Skywest Airlines Pty Ltd without tenders being called and no specifications being given?

Answer-Skywest Airlines Pty Ltd (and the firm it subsequently acquired, H. C. Sleigh Aviation Ltd) won the three-year contract it holds with the Commonwealth in open competitive bidding. It won that contract in 1982. The resources from Skywest available to the Government were redeployed under the terms of the contract, taking into account the Department of Health assessment of the reduced level of coverage required for littoral surveillance. The contract provided for redeployment and other variations required by the Commonwealth.

Considerable additional detailed information has been provided by the Department of Transport to officers of the Department of Special Minister of State in response to questions asked by members of Senate Estimates Committee E.