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Wednesday, 2 May 1973
Page: 1557

Dr GUN (KINGSTON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - 1 address to the Treasurer a question relating to the effects of changes in dollar parity on users of international airlines, particularly Australian exporters. I preface my question by pointing out that the airlines have set their charges in United States dollars and they convert this amount into Australian dollars to determine the charge to Australian travellers and exporters. Is the Treasurer aware that the International Air Transport Association is still using the same conversion scales which were used before the Australian revaluation last December? Does this not now mean a 17 per cent surcharge on passenger and export freight charges? What gives the airlines the right to set their own exchange rates in defiance of the official rates set by the Reserve Bank of Australia? Will the Government make it quite clear to the airlines that they are not above the law and will the Treasurer require them to make appropriate refunds for all freight carried since 23rd December 1972?

Mr CREAN - 1 suggest that this question more appropriately resides in the hands of my colleague the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation. I suggest that he might reply to the question.

Mr CHARLES JONES (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Transport) - As the question was directed to the Treasurer I was not exactly listening to it. But I gather that the honourable member for Kingston wants to know the position in regard to the recent revaluation effects on airline charges. My understanding of the position is that after revaluation the International Air Transport Association was obliged to call a meeting of all interested airlines within a certain prescribed period - I think within about 21 days. I believe that a meeting was held of all interested airlines and an agreement was reached whereby in those countries which were affected by the revaluation the air charges were adjusted by between 5 per cent and 10 per cent. This took place at a time when there was a general review of air charges. So in actual fact there has been a revaluation and an adjustment of fares in overseas countries where the United States dollar rates apply.

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