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Thursday, 16 March 2000
Page: 14900

Mr MARTIN FERGUSON (2:42 PM) —Breakfast will be more after 1 July, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER —The member for Batman knows that he is skating on very thin ice.

Mr MARTIN FERGUSON —My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services. Minister, do you recall telling the House on Tuesday:

... foreign air carriers will have unrestricted access to regional international airports such as Rockhampton.

Minister, isn't it a fact that your government reduced the airport fire category at Rockhampton in January this year and that as a result international passenger aircraft such as 767s and 747s cannot land there? Minister, haven't you misled the House and the people of Capricornia?

Mr ANDERSON (Deputy Prime Minister) —Apart from making the observation that it would appear that those on the other side of the House do not favour Rockhampton having an airport capable of taking 747s and 767s, I say in regard to the airport capacity that the runway, both in terms of its length and now the strengthening program that will be completed in a couple of months, will be capable of taking international flights. In terms of the particular issue that the member raised at the outset of his question, if there has been some technicality—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr ANDERSON —If there was some ruling, and I am certainly not going to take your word for it, I will investigate and have a look at it. I might add it would obviously have applied to the airport at a time when it was not capable of taking those big international flights anyway. I reiterate to this House that we have put $7 million into upgrading an airport that the people of Rockhampton want and support but you apparently do not, which will give it the capacity to take international flights, and we have a reformed aviation policy that allows unrestricted access to airports that are capable of taking those sorts of flights. That is a significant advance on your aviation policy.

Mr Martin Ferguson —I would like to assist the minister. I seek leave to table the Civil Aviation Safety Authority safety regulation for providers of aerodrome rescue and firefighter services and the safety regulatory arrangements and standards, as the minister needs some assistance.

Mr SPEAKER —The member for Batman has made his point.

Leave not granted.