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Tuesday, 26 September 1972
Page: 1868

Mr KEATING (BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I preface my question to the Minister for Supply by reminding him of the imminent retrenchments by Hawker de Havilland Aust. Pty Ltd, the Sydney element of the aircraft industry. I ask: What action does the Government intend to take to find immediate work load for this basic defence establishment to prevent it closing its doors? How can the Government claim to be concerned about Australia's defence when its key defence industries are in a state of disintegration?

Mr GARLAND (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Supply) - As the honourable member will no doubt know, I received in Parliament House last week a deputation from certain union representatives and employees of Hawker de Havilland. As I have Indicated to the House on a number of occasions, discussions have been going on with elements of the aircraft industry in Australia to determine the best way to deal with its present difficulties. The Government has recently put into production, as the House is aware, the Turana target drone, the Nomad aircraft, and it has before it several proposals for increased work load. Yesterday in Sydney I had discussions with the management of the 2 private elements of the aircraft industry to consider, in line with the Government's earlier announcement, various rationalisation proposals and various courses aimed at building a firmer industry and one with a more stable work-load. The aircraft industry is an industry which is subject to peaks and troughs of work. This is the case in this industry all over the world. The Government will do its utmost to obtain a work-load to make it smoother and sustained over a longer period. In respect of the factory to which the honourable member referred, certain points were raised at the deputation which I have had my officers examine with a view to ascertaining what can be done in the near future.

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