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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4591

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

How and - when did Australia act upon President Nixon's policy announcement of 22nd June 1971 that charter services are a most valuable component of international air transportation and that inter-governmental agreements should be sought covering charter services? '

Mr Swartz - The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

President Nixon was declaring United States policy as such on charter services, lt is, therefore, not a question of any adjustment by Australia to it. When appropriate it is a matter for negotiation and reconciliation of the views of each Government as to the conditions, such as pricing and volume, under which charter Mights may be operated. Australian policy has for some time recognised the increasing importance of charter services as a component of international air transportation. Qantas earned over S27m from charter operations in its last financial year. The crucial problem for all Governments, of course, is to develop a proper relationship between scheduled and non-scheduled services so that the stability of the former and therefore, in essence, their availability are not prejudiced.

Regarding methods to resolve the situation as between Governments there has been no acceptance as yet of the United States view that comprehensive bilateral agreements comparable to those regulating scheduled services should be immediately negotiated. These agreements may be achieved in the future but for the moment Governments, including Australia, have been proceeding on the basis of ad hoc arrangements renewable from time to time in the light of experience and including certain basic conditions. This method is, in fact, being adopted in relation to our recently achieved understanding with the United States authorities. The aim to to stimulate additional tourist travel between Australia and the United States through agreement on the conditions tinder which a certain number of charter flights can be operated between the 2 countries by such airlines as the United States and Australian Governments approve as carriers to operate them.

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