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Tuesday, 8 October 1985
Page: 788

Senator MAGUIRE(3.13) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

I address some remarks to the report entitled `Outlook for the Aviation Industry' dated September 1985 and published by the Department of Aviation. The report indicates that in the current financial year there is expected to be a 4 per cent growth in airline passenger numbers. It is pointed out that in regard to 1984-85, which has just ended, there was a growth of 7 1/2 per cent in passenger kilometres performed by the major airlines. That growth rate is far in excess of those which have been recorded by the Australian airline industry in the previous financial years. For example, the 7 1/2 per cent growth in passenger kilometres for 1984-85 compares with only 3.8 per cent growth in 1983-84 and a decline in passenger kilometres of 8.2 per cent in 1982-83, which I think was the bottom point of the Fraser Government's period of economic recession.

It is evident that the total task performed by Australia's airlines, measured by tonne kilometres, grew by 6.7 per cent for the whole of the financial year 1984-85 compared with the previous year. What is particularly interesting is the accelerating growth trend in the industry. I refer to the June quarter growth for 1985 compared with the June quarter growth for 1984 and the 8.8 per cent increase in the total task performed by Australian airlines in that period compared with only 6.7 per cent growth for the whole year. So there has been a marked improvement recently, a further sign, I believe, of the economic recovery occurring in this country. The airline industry is very responsive to economic activity.

I noted also with a great deal of interest that a 5 per cent increase was measured in the last financial year, 1984-85, in total aircraft movements at the eight capital city airports in Australia. That indicator includes both Canberra and Darwin as well as the six State capital cities. Overall there was 5 per cent growth in aircraft movements at those airports. As a result, aircraft movements equalled the Australian all time record level set in 1980. So the airline industry has come out of the recession. It has recovered. It is now achieving levels of activity equal to those set in 1980 before the recession which occurred earlier in this decade.

It is particularly interesting that while the number of aircraft movements grew by an average of 5 per cent in 1984-85 for the eight capital cities, there were very wide variations between those capital cities. It is noteworthy that in Brisbane there was a decline in the number of aircraft movements; so on yet another indicator it seems that activity in Queensland has gone against the national trend. While there was a 5 per cent rise nationally in aircraft movements at major airports, in Brisbane there was a decline of 0.6 per cent for the whole of the financial year. For the June quarter of this year, compared with the June quarter of last year, aircraft movements at Brisbane airport fell by 3.2 per cent, which is very much an indicator of an increase rate of decline. Aircraft movements in Hobart declined by 2.1 per cent. On the other hand, aircraft movements in Perth rose by over 5 per cent.

At the moment a review is being conducted into the two-airline policy. I hope that that review will take a very close look at the most disastrous practice of parallel scheduling; the widespread practice in Australia of duplicated aircraft departure times. It is a major problem which particularly affects the outlying States of Australia. My colleagues from Western Australia are particularly aggrieved by the inconvenience caused by parallel scheduling and it certainly hits travellers from my own State. Adelaide airport has a very high degree of duplicated departure times. I recently conducted a study into the schedules of the major airlines between Melbourne and Adelaide, which showed that virtually all flights are duplicated on that sector. That should be looked at.