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Tuesday, 20 May 1980
Page: 2887

Mr CORBETT (MARANOA, QUEENSLAND) -Is the Minister for Transport aware of the very substantial loss being incurred by Bush Pilots Airways Ltd on some inland air services? I give, as an example, the St GeorgeCunnamulla section of the south-west Queensland service. Does the Minister agree that towns such as Cunnamulla, servicing a large area of south-west Queensland, should be given some assistance to maintain this vital service? If so, can he give an assurance that the Government will accept some of the responsibility for maintaining inland trunk air services such as this by providing some subsidy, remembering that the total amount involved will not be very great in relation to the value of the justifiable service provided?

Mr HUNT (GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Transport) -I am well aware of the difficulty being experienced by Bush Pilots Airways Ltd and also by a number of other commuter operators servicing the needs of people living in remote parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory and also parts of the remote areas of Western Australia. I am well aware also of the representations that have been made by the honourable member for Maranoa and also by the honourable member for the Northern Territory and other honourable members representing these remote areas. The Government is conscious of the need to maintain services to people living in isolated areas because they depend on these commuter services for mail, stores, medical supplies, et cetera. Indeed, the Government has supported these services for many, many years. The Minister for Finance and I have a proposal before us at the present time. We hope to be in a position to make a favourable announcement in the not too distant future.

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