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Thursday, 2 August 1934

Mr Fenton (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) n asked the Assistant Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that arrangements are being made by the Defence Department to establish a chief landing ground at Fishermen's Bend, instead of at Essendon aerodrome?

2.   If so, at what cost?

3.   Is the Fishermen's Bend site considered a better site than that at Essendon?

Mr Francis - The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows : - 1 to 3. Several years ago a movement was started for the establishment of a central air port that would be more convenient to the centre of Melbourne than Essendon. Under the chairmanship of the then Lord Mayor of Melbourne, a committee was formed representative of various interests, including the Aero Club and Civil Aviation, and this committee reported in favour of the site at Fishermen's Bend. Although the committee had the benefit of the expert knowledge of certain officials of the Civil Aviation Branch, the Defence Department was not officially concerned in the proposal. It is understood that the proposal waa not then proceeded with, mainly on account of the intervention of the depression; but the suggestion has now been revived in the press, and is apparently receiving support from many quarters, mainly on account of the convenience of the site to the centre of the city.

Petrol: Addition of Tetra-ethyl Lead.

Dr Maloney y asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   With reference to the statement that the oil companies supplying petrol are adding lead tetrachloride to improve their product, is it a fact that such metal is a deadly poison, and will make the carbon monoxide that is discharged from motor car exhausts a more deadly poison ? '

2.   If so, can this be prevented?

Mr Lyons - The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows: - 1 and 2. The Commonwealth Fuel Adviser states that exhaustive tests have been undertaken by the Ministry of Health in England, and in the United States of America, to determine whether there is any danger of lead poisoning from petrol treated with tetra-ethyl lead, and the conclusion is that, provided the concentration of the lead is small, that is, of the order of that used in ordinary petrol, there is no danger of poisoning. Over 50 per cent, of the world's petrol already contains lead, and, as long as it is used merely aB a fuel and not for washing, it is considered to be quite safe by recognized health and medical authorities.

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