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Tuesday, 6 June 1989
Page: 3386


Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the Senate-

(a) notes the Federal Government's decision to scrap the Chinook helicopters based at Amberley in southern Queensland, and replace them with Black Hawk helicopters, which will be based in Townsville;

(b) notes that while several factors came into play in this decision, some of them political and others based on the ever-declining Defence budget, the departure of the Chinook helicopters leaves a big hole in the capacity of the air force to react to civil emergencies;

(c) also notes the wonderful civil service provided by the Chinook helicopters at Amberley air base at Ipswich during times of air-sea rescues and providing supplies and fodder during floods;

(d) expresses its concern at Government claims that the new Black Hawk helicopters are capable of performing Chinook-type roles, and points out that the Chinook is a medium-lift helicopter capable of lifting almost its own weight whilst the Black Hawk is a battlefield utility helicopter;

(e) condemns the Government for its failure to take into account that the loss of the Chinooks at Amberley, means that the heavily-populated southern areas of Queensland will be deprived of a valuable rescue and disaster relief force.