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Monday, 7 May 1984
Page: 1629

Senator TATE —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation. What is the current situation regarding the Tasmanian Government's offer of $3m to upgrade Hobart Airport? Has it been decided what the money will be spent on? Has any comparison been made between the benefits of spending the money at Hobart or spending it at Launceston?

Senator GIETZELT —Senator Tate indicated that he wanted to ask a question about the allocation of funds in respect of aviation matters in Tasmania. I sought a response from the Minister for Aviation, whom I represent in this place. Mr Beazley has provided me with the following information. In commenting upon the Commonwealth's Gordon below Franklin offset package, Mr Gray advised that he intended to spend $3m of State funds on the upgrading of Hobart Airport. Discussions between the Commonwealth and State officials have identified the alternatives as either the lengthening of the runway from 1,980 metres to 2,480 metres, or extending the terminal to provide for two-way B767 loading and carpark improvements. This proposed expenditure by Mr Gray is in addition to $3m provided by the Commonwealth for the upgrading of Hobart Airport as part of the Gordon below Franklin offset package. The Commonwealth funds will cover pavement works consisting of runway turning nodes, taxiway fillets and apron extensions, costing $2.4m; and technical capital works consisting of provision of taxiing lights, apron floodlighting and distance measuring equipment costing $0.2m, which will leave $0.4m for other works. This could be used to enlarge the terminal building to cater for two-way flow of B727 loads.

In response to interest from the Launceston community, Mr Beazley advises that he has had the potential for upgrading of that airport investigated and that it is indicated that the upgrading of Launceston to international standards would cost between $40m and $55m, and that that is currently out of the question. However, as some interest has been expressed in flying wide-bodied aircraft into Launceston, which has advantages as a point of entry for domestic tourists, he indicates that for about $3m, say, a turning node at the end of the runway, an apron at one end of the terminal and a short taxiway connecting the apron to the runway could be provided. These improvements would enable the domestic airlines to fly B767s or Airbuses to Launceston if they believed that the market justified the expansion in capacity. So it appears that the Premier has decided that further upgrading of Hobart has top priority and the final decision, as the Federal Government accepts, is his. Whatever the Premier decides, the Department of Aviation and the Government will continue to give every assistance in the administration of that expenditure.