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Tuesday, 29 August 1972
Page: 472

Senator WILLESEE - I ask the Minister for Air: Is the Government considering buying the 23 Phantom aircraft remaining out of the original 24 on lease from the United States of America? What sale price has been offered to Australia for the purchase of these aircraft?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - As the honourable senator knows, Australia has these aircraft on lease. A term of the lease agreement is that Australia may, if it so desires, purchase these aircraft at any time during the period of the lease. The lease has certain other conditions. The amount paid under the lease would be taken into consideration in the final price. An offer has been made to the Australian Government. My Department has studied it. The head of my Department and Air ViceMarshal Hey, sought further information when they were in America. All the information has been supplied to the Department of Defence which, with my Department, is now considering the offer. Recently when a similuar question was asked I said that if a decision to buy the Phantoms was taken the price that we woud pay for them would still be subject to negotiation by Australia and American authorities.

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