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Tuesday, 1 May 1984
Page: 1450

(Question No. 719)

Senator MacGibbon asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 8 March 1984:

(1) How far has the charting progressed relating to Australian coastal waters.

(2) Is the charting being done entirely by the Navy. If not, what other organisations, companies or groups are involved.

(3) Has any consideration been given to the involvement of private industry in this charting work.

(4) Is the equipment being used in the charting the property of the armed forces or are some resources of private industry being utilised.

(5) Have there been any purchases of equipment which have been specifically brought about due to this survey work, if the equipment being used is the property of the armed forces.

(6) How many service personnel are involved in this duty and what ships and aircraft are being used.

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

(1) Twenty per cent of Australia's continental shelf has been surveyed to standards which allow modern ships to navigate with complete safety. A further 16 per cent has been surveyed with some shortcomings which will require updating at a later date. The remaining 64 per cent is incompletely surveyed and charting for these areas is based on small scale reconnaissance surveys, early lead line surveys or no data at all.

Some 620 charts are required to cover the Australian charting area fully. Of this number, 390 exist but 250 of these are still published in imperial units. Essentially then, about 480 charts have yet to be compiled from original data or converted to metric units.

(2) Publication of the Australian chart series is the responsibility of the RAN Hydrographic Service. However, the data is also obtained from Federal and State mapping authorities, State and commercial marine and port authorities an private mariners and individuals with an interest in the sea.

(3) Yes. However there are practical difficulties associated with the centralised computer data base.

(4) Equipment used in the production of the charts is the property of the Commonwealth.

(5) Yes. The types of equipment purchased are wide ranging and specialist to the task.

(6) Currently about 100 officers and sailors are employed on hydrographic duties in HMAS Moresby and HMAS Flinders, other RAN ships and establishments and the Hydrographic Office. About 85 civilians are also employed in the Hydrographic Office on chart compilation production and distribution. One Bell 206-B helicopter is deployed on HMAS Moresby for survey support tasks.