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Thursday, 24 May 1973
Page: 2632

Mr NIXON (Gippsland) - The Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles Jones) argues strongly but in my view not correctly on a couple of points. The first point is the equality of the operations between Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. The simple fact is, of course, that TAA has advantages over ATI in respect of this matter. ATI is forced to pay its contributions for superannuation, along with those from its employees, into some secure investment. Then, when it wants to borrow capital, it has to go on to the market so to do. In this case, certainly TAA has to meet its share of the superannuation contributions. But it can then invest those contributions in capital equipment. So it is not a matter of comparing like with like. It may well be that this matter was not covered by the original airlines agreement. I am not arguing that. Nevertheless, the previous Government took a decision on this matter in relation to superannuation. As my colleague, the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) rightly says, mention was made of it in the last Budget when $25m was provided for TAA to overcome short term difficulties whilst it made arrangements for the transfer of its superannuation funds.

The second point is that there is no reason that I can see why TAA should be treated any differently in relation to this matter from the Australian National Line, the Commonwealth Railways or any of the other 30 Commonwealth authorities that have to pay their superannuation contributions into the Commonwealth Superannuation Board, or invest them in some other way. But they are not able to use the contributions for investment in capital equipment in their industries. ANL is just as competitive both on the coastal trade and on the international trade as private enterprise. Yet it does not receive this advantage. We make sure that its superannuation contributions are treated differently. So there is no reason to give TAA this advantage which it has had. A clear decision was taken by the previous Government that this matter should be corrected. That is why the Opposition has moved this amendment. I regret to say that the honeymoon is now over and we will be - forced to seek a division on this amendment.

Question put:

That the new clause 13a (Mr Nixon's amendment) be inserted.

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