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Thursday, 16 May 1985
Page: 2117

(Question No. 129)

Senator Kilgariff asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, on 25 March 1985:

(1) Is the east coast of Australia given greater emphasis and priority for search and rescue operations than other parts of the Australian coastline, given that the Minister for Aviation recently announced that 28 general aviation operators from Hobart to Cairns will be offered training in search and rescue techniques.

(2) Given the great length of coastline along the northern and western Australian coasts and the immense security problems this creates, does the Government have any intention of providing training for additional search and rescue operators in these areas; if not, why not; if so, when will this training be provided.

Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Report of the Committee of Review into Civil Aviation Search and Rescue issued July 1984 made the following two recommendations:

'In areas where there is a high level of aviation activity and/or there is a history of relatively frequent or difficult search and rescue actions involving civil aircraft, operators of aircraft suitable for immediate search and rescue response be selected, equipped and trained to provide the services required.'

'The Department of Aviation, in conjunction with the aviation industry, determine the areas where the level or nature of the aviation activity justifies the selection and training of operators in search and rescue techniques to provide a rapid response.'

In accordance with these recommendations the areas selected for the initial phase of a proposed protracted training program was the East Coast of Australia, with particular emphasis on Bass Strait. This does not imply greater emphasis on search and rescue operations, but reflects the historical and statistical evidence that the potential requirement for search and rescue operations is highest in these areas. The priority for the provision of training to the individual operators within these areas was determined accordingly.

(2) It is intended to provide training in search and rescue techniques to additional selected general aviation operators along the northern and western coastlines as well as inland and southern Australia. The programming and precise timing for this activity has yet to be determined, but will be undertaken on completion of the initial phase of the program.