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Wednesday, 10 May 1972
Page: 2384

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

(1)   Will the Minister ensure that no aircraft will be permitted to travel at supersonic speeds over Australian territories.

(2)   Will the Minister also ensure that the reported flight over Australia by the Concorde supersonic jet will be made at less than supersonic speed.

(3)   Have corridors been arranged across Australia for supersonic flights.

(4)   Will the Minister heed Ohe lead given by Great Britain and other countries and ban flights at supersonic speeds across Australia.

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

(1)   It would be wrong for me to arbitarily ban civil flights at supersonic speeds over selected portions of Australia until the results of the current studies and investigations are known.

The Department of Civil Aviation is represented on the Sonic Boom Committee which has been set up by the International Civil Aviation

Organization to study, and make recommendations on the many aspects that relate to supersonic flight. The possible effects of the sonic boom on human beings, animals, structures, terrain and marine life are included in the terms of reference and the next meeting of the committee will take place in Montreal, in May of this year.

(2)   The implications of the flight by the Concorde to Australia which has been proposed for next June are receiving consideration. Any decision to approve supersonic flight over portions of the route throughout Australia will be taken with due regard to al the circumstances that are involved.

(3)   Although Qantas and the Department of Civil Aviation have had discussions on the possibility of allocating supersonic air routes over sparsely populated Australia in the event that these aircraft are purchased, no decision, or approval has been given in this matter.

(4)   Although me United Kingdom and sonic other countries have discussed the possibility of banning supersonic flights over their territories, 1 am not aware of any definitive legislation that has been developed to ban such flights. It should be remembered that the population distribution, and the number and type of dwellings and structures in many other countries are completely different to those which exist in certain areas of sparsely populated Australia. These differences are real, and need to be taken into account when the current or contemplated practices of other countries on the question are being compared with what might be done here.

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