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Wednesday, 16 October 1985
Page: 1325

Senator GIETZELT —Early in the week Senator Sanders asked me a question which I referred to the Department of Aviation. It has provided me with a detailed answer. The Department of Aviation is in the process of studying the manner in which aviation meteorological information is provided to the aviation industry, in consultation with officials of the Bureau of Meteorology and consistent with cost reduction principles envisaged in the report of the Bosch Inquiry into Aviation Cost Recovery.

Current proposals envisage that it will no longer be necessary for Bureau officers to provide face to face briefing at the nine locations mentioned. Weather information will continue to be available from officers of the Department of Aviation. Similar arrangements exist already at 32 other locations in Australia. These arrangements have operated successfully for a number of years at locations which include important centres such as Coolangatta, Albury, Derby, Mackay and Coffs Harbour.

In the context of the review of aviation meteorological services, it is not planned to close the Flight Service Office in Hobart at this time. The proposals will not affect the availability of weather information to pilots. Observations will continue at their present level. If pilots require elaboration of material, they will be provided with access to a professional forecaster. The proposed changes are being discussed with the representatives of the aviation industry. In a different context, the Department of Aviation is studying options for the rationalisation of air traffic services generally and it is possible that these options might include proposals to close flight service offices at some locations throughout Australia. The changes would take account of modern technology such as the features of the domestic communications satellite. The proposals will not alter, in any way, the quality of services available to pilots.