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Tuesday, 15 October 1985
Page: 1233

Senator JONES(4.23) —I think it is worth while mentioning again, as was said by my colleague Senator Maguire, that Qantas Airways Ltd is now in its sixty-fifth year of operation. Page 2 of the report gives a summary of Qantas Airways Ltd. The report sums up very clearly the actions taken by Qantas and the healthy position in which it now finds itself. Qantas is wholly owned by the Commonwealth of Australia and its functions are to develop and operate international air services as the Australian flag carrier. I think every honourable senator would have to say that Qantas has been successful as Australia's international flag carrier. The report says that Qantas's assets totalled $1,166,000 and that services operated to 39 cities in 24 countries. That clearly shows the great extent of Qantas's effect on the world in relation to the travel industry. Staff numbers totalled 12,234 and revenue for the financial year was $1,574m. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Qantas is a tour wholesaler and Qantas engages in other related activities as described in this report. The first two paragraphs of the letter dated 17 September 1985 from Mr J. B. Leslie, the Chairman of Qantas, to the Minister for Transport (Mr Peter Morris), as shown on page 4 of the report, clearly outline the way in which Qantas has performed over the period to which this report refers. The letter states:

Dear Mr Morris,

I am pleased to report that Qantas and its wholly-owned subsidiaries achieved a group profit of $147,916,000 in 1984-85 compared with a profit of $58,489,000 in 1983-84.

The group operating profit, after tax, is the highest in the history of the Company.

I think that says something for the company. It clearly shows that Qantas is performing in the way in which it should perform. Whilst some previous speakers have stated that Qantas was making only 4c profit in the dollar-I think that was the term used-the report clearly shows the activities of Qantas and the profits made by it. Qantas's revenue and its expenditure in relation to the training of new pilots and the purchase of new aircraft last year show very clearly that there is no case to be made by the Opposition for the sale or privatisation of Qantas, although the Opposition claims that Qantas is one of the companies throughout Australia that would be privatised or sold off if it were ever to come to government.

I recommend the report to anyone who is interested in the aircraft industry. Under the heading `New Look for Qantas' the report talks about a program set up to develop the corporate identity of Qantas and about the Australian companies that were used in developing that identity. However, as one previous speaker said, it neglects to say anything about the development of uniforms. I made some comments on that matter the other day and I do not wish to go into it further at the moment. I think it is worth while noting, in relation to technical training, that the recruitment of pilots and flight engineers continued throughout the financial year 1984-85, with a total of 122 pilots and 36 flight engineers being trained. Training was undertaken in preparation for the introduction of the B767 aircraft and increased utilisation of the B747 and recruitment took place to compensate for Qantas's normal staff fall-off. I believe that the expenditure as outlined by Qantas for the training of new pilots and the purchase of new aeroplanes shows that Qantas next year will again be one of the world's leading international carriers.

Question resolved in the affirmative.