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Wednesday, 6 August 1930

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - T h at kind of sport has more value to the nation than any other type. Australia has a coastline of about 12,000 miles, and we must rely on our aviators to act as our spotters if this country is ever attacked. I admit that the Commonwealth Government gives a subsidy to aero clubs for every " A "-class pilot who graduates, but the club and the trainee are involved in an expenditure much more than the amount of the subsidy. They are not receiving much encouragement. An additional duty of over £100 has been imposed on Moth machines, the type most needed by aero clubs for training purposes. They are not ordinary clubs in any sense of the word. They are teaching the best of our young people that air-sense which is so essential to Australia. I do not know any other country in which civil aviatiot. hiis received such poor assistance.

Senator Sir George Pearce - I do not think that that criticism is justified. Australia has. given very considerable assistance to civil aviation.

Senator GUTHRIE - I do not think that it has been granted nearly as much assistance as it should have received. Our aerodromes are a disgrace, and it is ridiculous that the clubs should be taxed.

Senator Daly - I said that they are not taxed.

Senator GUTHRIE - Why should we not give them this concession for which they are asking?

Senator Millen - Is it a concession ?

Senator GUTHRIE - They think it is. At any rate it is an encouragement to them. The Essendon aerodrome in Victoria is a disgrace. It is a bog when there is any rain. There is a reservoir in the middle of the area into which two capable aviators crashed during a storm. I have visited the aerodrome when it has been in a deplorable condition. When I asked why the club did not put cinders down to improve the runway, I was told that the club had not sufficient money to do it. There is not a decent aerodrome in Australia.

Senator Cox - Speak for Victoria.

Senator GUTHRIE - The other day Mascot aerodrome was under water.

Senator Cox - We have one of the best, aerodromes in the world in New South Wales.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Plain).Order! The committee is dealing with the exemptions.

Senator GUTHRIE - I press for the exemption of these aero clubs, which are performing such wonderful service for the nation in preparing men for the defence of their country or for exploration work. It would be a great reflection on the Senate if the modest request they have submitted were not granted.

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