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Tuesday, 6 September 1960

Mr FREETH (Forrest) (Minister for the Interior and Minister for Works) . - in reply - I shall not occupy the time of the House for very long. I do not feel compelled to defend the Public Works Committee from the entirely unwarranted attack made upon it by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), but I do think that some of the matters mentioned by the honorable member should be put in perspective. The honorable member is not unaware, 1 imagine, that the provision of an international airport in Perth is quite an issue in the State from which he comes, and I imagine that his intemperate and extravagant remarks were directed against the Public Works Committee with an eye to the cheap applause which he could get in his own State. However, they were quite unrelated to the facts.

The honorable member pleaded for a grandiose and extravagant building unrelated to passenger requirements and to our present knowledge of the aircraft that will use the runways and the airport facilities. He made no estimates himself of probable requirements. He did not refer to the detailed evidence which the Public Works Committee examined, which is set out rather fully in its report, and which indicates that the proposed provisions for the Perth airport terminal building are quite adequate as far as can reasonably be foreseen.

The matter also has to be looked at in a far wider context than that of the provisions of adequate facilities in the Perth area alone. All over Australia we are faced with enormous demands for airport facilities. Many millions of pounds have been spent in this way in recent years by the Australian Government, and many more millions are required. But enormous amounts of money are required not only for airport facilities - and we are groping, as are authorities all over the world, to try to foresee developments in air transport - but also for roads, railways and shipping facilities all over Australia. The honorable member for Fremantle displayed a regrettable lack of sense of proportion in his remarks concerning the kind of facilities that should be provided at the Perth airport. I can only imagine that his quite uncharacteristic attack was caused by some unbalanced thinking in regard to his own home State.

I hope this was the only cause of it. I commend the proposal to the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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