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Thursday, 27 March 1969

Senator BISHOP (South Australia) - 1 have a couple of questions relating to clause 5 (2.). The Minister is probably aware that he did not answer my questions. In one respect he answered the question about Transavia aircraft, the crop duster aircraft. He gave an answer about the application to the Tariff Board. But I also wanted to know about some of the representations by the company to the Government for other considerations. I understood the Minister to say that this aircraft cannot be efficiently and competitively produced in Australia. However, it is being manufactured in Australia and is being sold to New Zealand. There is a market for the aircraft. The company made some overtures to the Government which I would like the Minister to tell me about. 1 understood the Minister to say that at present the Australian aircraft industry is not competitive or efficient in the sense that it can stand on its own feet. If this is so then perhaps I have come to the wrong conclusion. But I am aware, and so also is the Minister, I think, that his colleague in the Ministry has announced that the Australian aircraft industry has just secured a fairly substantial order to manufacture wing spars. The order was put in by General Dynamics. There has been quite a deal of newspaper comment as well as contributions by experts to the effect that the Australian aircraft industry is now competitive with world production. The second part of my question is: What is the Government doing in a general way, through its tariff policy and other measures, to encourage the capacity which we have and to give work which can be done by the industries that are already established and competent?

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