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Thursday, 27 March 1969

Senator BISHOP (South Australia) - I refer to sub-clause (2.) and to items appearing in the Third Schedule, setting out the rates applicable to aircraft engines, carburettors, valves, fuel injectors and so on. I should like the Minister to tell me what the Government has done about ensuring that the Australian aircraft industry is given some assistance on the basis of his statement during his second reading speech that the Government believes in protection for Australian industry. To my knowledge a number of light aircraft manufacturers have applied for protection to the Tariff Board and directly to the Government. One that comes to my mind is Transavia Corporation Pty Ltd, which has produced a crop dusting aircraft which can be manufactured on mass production lines. The design is so fine that it is easily made. So far as I am aware, the Government has refused to give any assistance to the manufacture of this aircraft. I ask the Minister: Having regard to the policies of his Department, what has been done to encourage manufacture by the Government aircraft factories and the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation of aircraft which could be made in Australia? lt has been announced by the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) and the Minister for Supply (Senator Anderson) that certain aircraft can be made and are being made, or that their manufacture is contemplated. Having regard to the fact that orders have been placed overseas for the Army and other Services for small aircraft which could be made in Australia, to what extent arc the tariff measures that we are discussing tonight to be used to give assistance in the general pattern of protection about which the Minister talked? 1 am concerned about this industry which has obviously not had protection, because over the last 4 months hundreds of persons have been retrenched from the Australian aircraft industry and, so far as I know, no method has yet been found to keep them in employment, and so their skills have been lost to other industries.

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