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Thursday, 14 September 1972
Page: 1384

Sir WINTON TURNBULL (MALLEE, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. There has been discussion in the Mallee electorate regarding the proposed Omega navigational aid station, chiefly in regard to where it will be located. Can the Minister supply information on his subject?

Mr NIXON (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) (Minister for Shipping and Transport) - A lot of interest has been created by the announcement that an Omega navigational aid station is to be installed in Australia. I have received an invitation from a councillor in Swan Hill - not from the Swan Hill Shire Council - to attend a public meeting which 2 academics who are critics of the proposed station are to attend. I regret that I will be unable to attend the meeting because of prior commitments. However, I have answered point by point the criticisms that have been made by these people. I will be happy to forward to the Swan Hill Shire Council any information it seeks on the subject.

The House will recall that I announced that 5 areas as possible sites for the navigational aid station were being investigated by my Department. The 5 areas are the Darling Downs, an area near Moree in northern New South Wales, an area north of Corowa, an area between Kerang and Deniliquin and another area north of the Divide from Wedderburn, near the town of Boort in Victoria. I am able to inform the House that the choice has been narrowed down to 2 sites following soil conductivity tests. The 2 sites are in the area near Boort and in the area between Kerang and Deniliquin.

Information is now being gathered in cooperation with the Department of the

Interior about properties for sale in those 2 areas. The navigational aid station will require about 1,000 acres for its operation. When the information is gathered, specific testing will be done on the available sites. I can inform the honourable member that Swan Hill was ruled out of calculations because the airport there is in regular use and radio interference would have been created for the Omega station. Other good, sound technical reasons came into the matter. I should point out to the House, as I have done before, that the investigating team has received exceptional co-operation from the municipal authorities in all the areas.

I have absolutely no knowledge of any disquiet on the part of any shire council. In fact, I have had representations from nearly every council in northern Victoria and the Riverina seeking to have the navigational aid station installed in that area. When the tests are concluded I will give further information to the honourable member and the House.

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