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Tuesday, 2 June 1987
Page: 3764

Mr LLOYD —The Minister for Aviation will be aware that the Chief Executive of the Federal Airports Corporation, Mr Bill Swingler, has indicated that the staff level necessary for the efficient operation of the Airports Corporation will be about 1,200 employees. Will the Minister confirm that the Federal Airports Corporation will be forced to accommodate some 1,600 staff transferred from the Department of Aviation once the FAC commences operations on 1 July? Further, will the Minister confirm that the Government plans to support those additional 400 staff with receipts from increased landing fees even though the Minister is yet to inform the Chief Executive of the FAC of the debt it is to inherit, of the assets it will actually control, and whether there will be any retrenchments of staff as a result of this Government's intention to sell the international terminal leases which were to be controlled by the FAC after 1 July?

Mr PETER MORRIS —The question asked by the honourable member for Murray is testimony to the shambles, the lack of organisation, in which the aviation arrangements were left by those who now sit opposite. Let me just refer to the two-airline agreement, which was agreed to in a private deal and signed by those who now sit opposite. That locked this country into a set of aviation arrangements about which the public of this nation was never consulted. Now, in an act of expediency, those opposite find it popular to say that we should dispense with it. The Opposition locked this country into those arrangements and did not consult the people. Unlike those who now sit opposite, this Government embarked upon a public review, the first comprehensive public analysis, of that system of arrangements to determine what type of arrangements best suit the needs of this country; and what people think about the arrangements. I find it rather interesting that, having done that, the Opposition has now suddenly taken upon itself a concern about the arrangements at airports in respect of domestic aviation. So I welcome this new-found interest from the Opposition-it is long overdue.

In respect of airport arrangements and the questions raised by the honourable member for Murray, who is usually a fairly studious reader-and we provide him with as much briefing and access as we can-he would know that the Commonwealth Public Service employment arrangements for those people who will transfer to the Federal Airports Corporation have been covered in previous statements made to this House; and he would know that people concerned are protected under the conditions of Commonwealth Public Service employment. The honourable member for Murray would also know that those people who may transfer to the Federal Airports Corporation are being given that option and, if they do not take up that option, they will remain with the Public Service and be subject to offers of other employment or whatever other arrangements or entitlements they may care to take up under the terms of public sector employment. All of that is public knowledge. As to the valuation of assets at airports and their transfer to the Federal Airports Corporation, the Government will deal with that matter in the normal course of events. I thank the honourable member for his question, but I wish that the Opposition had exercised the same interest in the past in respect of domestic aviation arrangements as it is now doing in respect of airports.