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Thursday, 2 November 1967

Mr SWARTZ (Darling Downs) (Minister for Civil Aviation) - There are just a couple of points that I propose to touch on briefly. The first one relates to the maintenance of Sydney airport as the premier international airport in Australia. It has been stated from time to time by the Government, and I have repeated it on several occasions, that geography and traffic density decide these matters. The Government has a belief that because of the geography and in view of our anticipation of the traffic and of the number of international operators whom we know have agreement to operate through Sydney, Sydney will be in the future still the No. 1 international airport in Australia. That does not mean to say, of course, that other international airports are not being developed in all States, including even Queensland, where the anticipated traffic will increase considerably in future.

The question of runway lengths has been raised again during this debate. My only comment at this stage is that the figures quoted today were not in accordance with the technical information that we have. I hope to be in a position before very long to be able to make some announcement on this matter. On the subject of the programme for the domestic terminals in Sydney, the comments of the Public Works Committee have been noted as requested by the Minister for Works (Mr Kelly). I can assure the House that a considerable amount of planning has already been done in relation to this. The very motion which is before the House is to enable some of the early preparatory work to be done in relation to this programme. However, its future development is related to the development of the airport as a whole.

I refer next to parallel runways, a development which also is related to the question of domestic terminals. These also have been taken into consideration as suggested in the motion. The last point raised was on the question of the sand that is required for the further extensions of the runway into Botany Bay. I know that the Department of Works, in association with the State authorities in New South Wales, has done a considerable amount of work on this already. I believe that it has been working for about 12 months in this field on the technical side and that investigations have been conducted in hydrological laboratories overseas as well as in conjunction with the State authorities. It appears that everything possible is being done to avoid any problem that could arise when the requirement for sand filling is considered in relation to the further extensions of the runway into Botany Bay.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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