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Tuesday, 11 April 1972
Page: 1471

Mr Keogh (BOWMAN, QUEENSLAND) asked the Minister represent ing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

(1)   Did the Minister state in a press release on 25 January, 1972, that three Lockheed Electras were being converted in the United States of America from passenger to freighter aircraft at a total cost of $1,500,000.

(2)   If so, why is the conversion work not being carried out in Australia.

(3)   What action did the Government take in an endeavour to have the work done in Australia.

Mr Swartz - The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   Ansett Airlines gave serious consideration to the modification of the aircraft in Australia but reached the conclusion after consultation with Lockheed, the manufacturer of the Electra, that the cost of under-taking the work locally would be approximately double the cost of modification by that company in the United States. The additional cost would have arisen from the need to purchase an engineering package specially prepared by the American company and the highly specialised tooling required to accomplish the modification.

(3)   The Government was aware of the proposal by Ansett Airlines to have its aircraft modified in the United States and took a close interest in the matter. Because the modification of the aircraft seemed to present an opportunity for work to flow to Australian industry a number of firms were referred to Ansett Airlines with a view to their involvement in the project. The decision to have the work performed in the United States was taken for the reason indicated in answer to Part 2 of the Question.

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