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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1391

Dr Everingham (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) asked the MinisterinCharge of Tourist Activities, upon notice:

(1)   Is it the Minister's endeavour to encourage people from overseas to travel in Australia, especially to some of the unique outback areas.

(2)   In this regard, has the Queensland Government over the past 2 years assisted in the development of Carnarvon Gorge National Park, an area rich in natural formations and Aboriginal artefacts, by providing a ranger station, kiosk, cabins and caravan park.

(3)   Has his attention been drawn to the poor communications in this area which, in wet seasons, is cut off from telephones and a primitive airstrip and, in the depth of the gorge, is also out of radio communication.

(4)   Will the Minister take up this matter with the Postmaster-General.

(5)   Will the Minister consider recommending to the Government the making of grants to the States with the object of extending to rapidly developing tourist areas, which are less readily accessible, the mantle of safety which is readily available in the outback regions.

Mr Howson - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   It is the Government's responsibility to promote Australia overseas as a tourist destination and to encourage overseas visitors to travel within Australia. This it does through the Australian Tourist Commission.

(2)   The Queensland Minister for Labour and Tourism has advised that the Queensland Government has assisted in the development of Carnarvon Gorge National Park by making nearby land available to Carnarvon Development Co. Pty Ltd for the construction of tourist accommodation; by providing a bank guarantee to assist in financing this construction and by, providing camping and other facilities in the Park itself.

(3)   No. (4)I raised this matter with the PostmasterGeneral who has advised me that some years ago, the Carnarvon Development Co. Pty Ltd approached the Post Office for communication facilities at Carnarvon Gorge. Various alternatives were offered, but apparently the Company was not in a position at that time to proceed with the proposals. However, the Company was licensed to operate as an outpost station on the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The matter is again being reviewed and the Director, Posts and Tele- graphs, Queensland, will contact the Company when the further review is completed to discuss means of meeting its communications requirements.

(5)   The development of specific tourist areas is primary the responsibility of State Governments.

Pacific Islands Regiment (Question No. 3438)

Mr Jacobion 6th May, 1971, asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that the rate of salary of indigenous officers of the Pacific Islands Regiment is much less than that received by expatriate officers.

(2)   Are these indigenous officers and their wives required to meet the same housing, messing, dress and other comparable costs as expatriate officers and their wives; if so, do these indigenous officers and their wives find themselves unable to maintain this equivalent standard of living.

(3)   Is the reason for the difference in the rate of salary because (a) it is compensated by the differences in the costs of educating the respective officers' children to a similar standard; (b) it is necessary to attract sufficient expatriate personnel for a limited time while they are progressively replaced by indigenes; or (c) it is part of the Government's economy drive.

Mr Barnes (MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for External Territories) ; - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   (a) Parity of salary is maintained, as far as possible, between indigenous officers of the Papua New Guinea Public Service, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, the Pacific Islands Regiment and the Papua New Guinea division of the Royal Australian Navy.

(b)   Expatriate officers are paid the same basic salary and allowances that they would receive if serving on the mainland of Australia plus an allowance for living and working in Papua New Guinea. This is a higher total rate than received by indigenous officers.

(2)   Indigenous officers pay lower rentals than expatriate officers. The level of charges in messes is the same for both. Generally, the prices charged for any given item of purchase or service would be the same for expatriate and indigenous officers. As with expatriate officers, the extent to which indigenous officers can maintain a standard of living depends not only upon their income but also upon their personal and family circumstances.

(3)   (a) No.

(b)   No.

(c)   No.

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