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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1588

(Question No. 85)

Senator Macklin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 20 March 1985:

(1) Are Aboriginals being trained as pilots; if so, are they limited to training on single-engined aircraft and would increased training, including as paramedics enhance their value in the medical air ambulance service.

(2) Does the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs agree that it is important for Aboriginal pilots to be involved in any service which maintains contact with those Aboriginals living in isolated areas; if so, is it not necessary for these pilots to receive training on twin-engine aircraft in order to be so involved.

Senator Ryan —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) A number of Aboriginal people throughout Australia have been trained, and are training, as pilots under the Training for Aboriginals Program (TAP) which is administered by the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations. Pilot training under TAP is not limited to single-engine aircraft. Training commences on single-engine aircraft and some trainees progress to a full commercial pilot's licence (twin-engined aircraft).

Paramedic training is not a requirement for appointment to the Royal Flying Doctor Service or the medical air ambulance service. The RFDS requires a commercial pilots licence, first class instrument certificate and 3,000 flying hours of which 1,500 hours must be in a twin-engined aircraft.

The pilot training programs are approved for Aboriginals on the basis of obtaining employment generally in aerial mustering or in servicing remote communities with medical supplies and other goods.

(2) Yes. While twin-engined certification is considered to provide the best employment prospects, in many areas single-engined aircraft are as readily available as twin-engined aircraft and therefore the level of training and certification is determined by the particular job aspirations of individual trainees.