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Tuesday, 4 March 1980
Page: 487

Senator RAE - I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Transport to the question asked by Senator Missen in relation to Qantas Airways Ltd and to the answer given by the Minister. Let me say by way of brief preface that I recognise that the Minister when answering that question would have been speaking from a brief in a representative capacity and not expressing his own views. I ask: Is it not a fact that if one conducted in-flight surveys of people travelling on aircraft, the vast majority of whom were travelling to Sydney, one would be likely to find that most of those travellers knew Sydney best? Is it therefore a little unsafe for Sir Lenox Hewitt and Qantas to be basing their assessment of the future development of Australian tourism on such a type of survey? Would it not be better to have regard to the surveys which have been conducted by many organisations, including the Australian Tourist Commission, which indicate that areas such as the Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock and, in some markets, even Tasmania, would command much more attraction to overseas tourists than would Sydney? I therefore ask the Minister: Will he inquire whether Qantas intends steadfastly to refuse to serve or permit others to serve, by charter or other means, areas which have a great potential in new markets but which are regarded by Qantas apparently as irrelevant, for instance Townsville-Singapore, north west Australia-Bali, and Hobart-Christchurch?

Senator CHANEY - I think there are obvious limitations on the in-flight survey. I think it is worth pointing out that Sir Lenox Hewitt made it clear- certainly in the reports which I saw in the newspaper- that the basis of his comments was the in-flight survey. He was quite frank in indicating why he held the view that he did. As far as that side of the matter is concerned, I have no first-hand knowledge of other survey information which might be available. As 1 indicated in my answer to Senator Missen, the Government has been concerned to ensure that other gateways are served by international airlines. In fact, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane are served by international flights. I will refer other matters raised by the honourable senator to the Minister for Transport so that he can refer them to Qantas for comment. As I have indicated already to Senator Missen, I will seek also some copies of the material which is referred to in the brief which has been provided to me so that honourable senators can see the sort of publicity which is given to other Australian centres in Qantas publicity material.

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