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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 3081

Question No. 428

Senator Hamer asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 12 October 1983:

(1) Did the Department of Defence, in or about the year 1981, receive a report from the Royal Australian Navy, emphasising the importance of the maintenance of manned light-stations on the New South Wales coast; if not, is the Department of Defence aware of the existence of such a report.

(2) Did the Department of Defence inform the current House of Representatives Standing Committee on Expenditure's inquiry into lightstations, that it had no comments to make on the issue of manned lightstations; if so, why was this submission made if, in fact, the abovementioned Royal Australian Navy report was in the Department's possession.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) There is no RAN report such as described in Senator Hamer's question. Navy Office wrote to the Department of Transport in late 1980. The letter indicated that while there is no justification for lightstations to be manned in peacetime , it was considered desirable that key lightstations be manned in times of war or tension. Earlier correspondence within Navy Office recommended that the matter of automation of lightstations should be taken up with the Department of Transport.

(2) The Department of Defence has not made, or been asked to make, a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Expenditure in connection with its current inquiry into lightstations.