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Wednesday, 19 April 1972
Page: 1777

Mr TURNER (BRADFIELD, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question h addressed to the Minister for the Army. By way of explanation may I say that for about 4 hours last Saturday a Mustang aircraft chartered by the Army flew in roughly a circle at a height of about 1,500 feet over a residential area in my electorate, returning to each point in the pattern at about every 2 minutes and that an officer of the Department of Civil Aviation informed me at the time of my inquiry about the matter that 24 people individually had telephoned to protest. Can the Minister say what was the nature and purpose of such an exercise? Why did it have to be carried out on a Saturday over a residential district? Under which authority are such requests for permission made to the Department of Civil Aviation? I mean by that are they made by the GOC, Eastern Command, by a battery commander or by whom? ls the Department of Civil Aviation bound to grant such a request, provided that it does not interfere with flight patterns having priority? Can the Department of Civil Aviation query the Army authorities as to the purpose of the proposed flight? Is the Army aware of the nuisance known as noise pollution?

Mr KATTER (KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for the Army) - 1 can well understand the honourable member's concern because a number of people were quite distracted by that particular operation, lt is true that 24 people contacted the Department of Civil Aviation and inquired as to just what it was all about. Apparently they were 24 very distressed people. Let me stress that the actual operation is one which is held periodically - in fact, once every 12 months. The aircraft involved is hired from a civilian company - it was not a military aircraft. When DCA received the complaints it immediately checked with the aircraft and found that it was flying higher than the regulations required, which is 1,500 feet above ground level. As I have said, it is an exercise which is held periodically. The point is that it was not a military exercise; it was a Citizen Military Forces exercise. I believe it was held over the area of St Ives and Middle Harbour. I am sure that the people who were distressed will appreciate the fact that they will not have any further disturbance for at least another 12 months. I will certainly inquire further into the matter to see whether the intensity of the noise created by this 12- monthly operation can be lessened somewhat.

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