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Tuesday, 11 May 1993
Page: 370

Senator CARR —Can the Minister for Transport and Communications advise the Senate of what progress has been made in securing increased international air services to the vitally important Asia-Pacific region?

Senator Walters —A dorothy dixer.

Senator COLLINS —Mr President, I have actually been doing a few other things. The Government's decision to enable additional Australian carriers, such as Ansett, to operate with the opportunity to expand their operations into key Asia-Pacific markets is going to be extremely beneficial to the Australian tourism industry and provide a very helpful boost to employment. In facilitating the access of additional Australian carriers, and also providing opportunities for growth for Qantas, successful bilateral agreements have now been negotiated with many major Asian and Pacific countries, with capacity increases as follows: a 70 per cent increase in capacity with Malaysia; a 40 per cent increase in capacity with Indonesia; a 50 per cent increase in capacity with Singapore; and a 40 per cent increase, very importantly, with Japan.

  Most recently, I am also pleased to advise the Senate, Australia reached agreement with the Republic of Korea for significantly increased capacity with that country. This increase will see a doubling of available capacity in October this year and the ability for carriers of both countries to provide daily services by 1995. The significance of this agreement can be seen from the excellent traffic growth rates of over 35 per cent on the Australia-Korea route in recent years—

Senator Cook —How much?

Senator COLLINS —A 35 per cent increase in growth, with the prospects for very strong increased growth on that route. I note that, since its establishment on 1 July 1992, the International Air Services Commission has already allocated capacity for carriers to operate to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, China, France and Germany.

  I might pause there for a minute to say that I wish to acknowledge the tremendous job that Stuart Fowler did in establishing this new commission—

Senator Kemp —Nice of you to give him credit.

Senator COLLINS —Senator Kemp is amazing! I wish to express my regret that, due to his unfortunate ill-health, he has had to depart from that position.

  The major beneficiaries of these initiatives in Australia's international aviation policy will undoubtedly be Australian tourism and trade. These developments will help build on the continuing growth in total international passenger traffic in Australia, with nearly 9 1/2 million passengers travelling in the year ended January 1993. This represents an increase of almost nine per cent on the previous year, despite continuing international economic conditions. That is very strong growth for Australia. Inbound passenger traffic for the month of January 1993 of 515,100 was the highest monthly amount ever recorded. It is an outstanding result.