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Wednesday, 12 October 1949

Mr DRAKEFORD (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) (Minister for Air) - I have not read; the reports to which the honorable member has referred, but I can quite under-* stand the reasons for the decision not to' make Melbourne a point on the route of the international air race to New Zealand. So far as I am aware, that city would not be on the direct track to that dominion, and competing aircraft would need to make a diversion in order to pass over Melbourne. The honorable member has also suggested that Melbourne should also be made an international airport. The explanation why that has not been done already has been made before, but I repeat it now for the honorable gentleman's information. The agreement between the United States of America and Australia provides for an international airport at each terminal. Airports have been established in accordance with that agreement, and any proposal for a variation of the agreement would have to be made by either the Government of the United States or the Australian Government. Personally, I see no necessity for such a variation. The net result of making Melbourne an international airport, and of permitting any international service to terminate at Melbourne, would be that the designated airline of the United States of America, Pan-American Airways, which might be more heavily subsidized than Australian airlines, would be able to send their aircraft to Melbourne, and compete with Australian National Airways Proprietary

Limited, Ansett Airways Proprietary Limited and Trans-Australia Airlines causing a total loss in revenue to the Australian airlines of £400 to £500 a week. No doubt it would cause the honorable member for Balaclava and his associates in the Opposition a great deal of satisfaction if Australian airlines were to incur such losses.

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