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Tuesday, 9 November 1976
Page: 2433

Mr COTTER (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -Is the Minister for Transport aware that considerable interest has been shown in Western Australia in a request for permission to fly direct from the Pilbara area to Bali? In view of the fact that Qantas Airways Ltd recently announced that it would provide a service from Perth to Bali, will the Minister grant permission for Qantas to land at either Port Hedland or Learmonth en route to Bali? Does the Minister realise that the people of the Pilbara, who number almost SO 000 and who originally requested this service, will be forced to pay an extra $480 approximately every time they travel to Bah? Will the Minister continue to allow Qantas to overfly the Pilbara region without stopping whilst en route to Bali?

Mr NIXON (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) (Minister for Transport) - I am well aware of the honourable member's interest in the subject of getting access to Bali for the residents of his electorate and I would like to assist him with it if I could. I should point out that in looking at the applications for charter licences we had to obtain permission from the Indonesian Government to set up a service. The Indonesian Government would permit such a service if certain reciprocal rights were granted to it in relation to Australia. I regret to say that these reciprocal rights involve much more than just a simple service from Bali to the honourable member's electorate. Therefore I have had to reject the charter proposition at this point in time. Discussions about that may well continue. In the meantime, as the honourable member has pointed out, Qantas has announced that it will provide a service from Perth to Bali.

The honourable member is now putting to me the proposition that perhaps Qantas could drop in at Learmonth or Port Hedland. I should point out to the House that neither the Port Hedland airstrip nor the Learmonth airstrip is satisfactory for the purpose of taking a Boeing 707 aircraft. They are absolutely not satisfactory. Whilst they might have met some past requirements of the Royal Australian Air Force or others they cannot carry a Boeing 707. Similarly, the normal facilities required for international landings are not available. They would have to be put in at quite considerable cost. The honourable member is shaking his head. After question time I will find out what he is on about. That is the information that has been given to me at this time. I will continue to press the honourable member's case with Qantas to see whether I can get a satisfactory resolution of it.

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