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Thursday, 11 May 1939

Mr Corser (WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND) r asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   What is the value of the first order for construction in Australia of British aeroplanes, following the BritishAir Mission's visit and decisions made?

2.   When will the manufacture of British aeroplanes commence?

3.   Which government finances the undertaking of British aeroplane manufacture in Australia and the construction of assembling plants in Sydney and Melbourne?

Mr Street - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   I regret that it is not in the public interest to disclose the value of the first order to be placed in Australia for British aeroplanes, but I can inform the honorable member that the order will be a joint one for the' supply of aircraft to the governments of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth and the value will amount to some millions of pounds.

2.   Arrangements are now being made for the necessary organization to enable manufacture of component parts and main assemblies to be commenced at the earliest possible date. The schedule adopted provides for delivery of the first air frames in 1940.

3.   The cost of the first order will be shared equally by both governments and the number of aircraft to be supplied will be divided between them. The construction of the assembly plants in Sydney and Melbourne will be financed by the Commonwealth.

Air Force Accidents.

Mr Street t. - On the 4th May the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) asked the following question, without notice -

Is it a fact that the reports of the Air Accidents Investigation Committee on the Arthur's Seat and Richmond crashes of Avro Anson machines last year have not been made public? If so, why?

I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that statements based on the reports of the Air Accidents

Investigation Committee on the crashes at Arthur's Seat and at Windsor, New South Wales, were issued to the press on the 23rd September, 1938, and the 15th February, 1939, respectively.

Dry Dock Facilities in Port Phillip.

Mr Street - On the 3rd May, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) asked the following question, without notice -

Will the Minister for Defence state whether officers of his department have recently made inquiries regarding the lack of dry dock facilities in Port Phillip? If not, will he have inquiries made into the matter in the near future ?

I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that docking facilities for naval purposes at all Australian ports are constantly under review by the Naval Board, which is in possession of data regarding the existing docks. The provision of a capital ship dry dock, capable also of taking large merchant vessels, is now under investigation by the Commonwealth Government. The adequacy of docking facilities for commercial purposes is a matter for consideration by the State authorities.

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