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Thursday, 31 May 1973
Page: 3036

Dr Forbes asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:

In what way do the new migrant education centres, announced by him as an initiative of his Government, differ from the proposal on the same subject announced by the previous Minister on 31 August 1972.

Mr Grassby - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The network of planned new migrant education centres in all States to which I referred in my statement to the press when opening the first of the new centres in Perth on 21 February 1973 does not differ from the proposal on the same subject to which the previous Minister referred in his statement to Parliament on 31 August 1972. In my statement to the press in Perth I acknowledged (as reported in the Melbourne Age' on 22 February) that the network of new centres was first planned by the previous Government. The concept of migrant education centres in the States is not however new. A centre has been in existence in Melbourne since 1952, when my Department obtained accommodation for the adult migrant education section of the Victorian Department of Education. So that classes could also be held in the centre, a move was made to larger premises in December 1959 and in 1967 the centre was again moved to its current address at 200 Little Coffins Street. New and larger premises are planned for Melbourne to accommodate the increased faculties which we are now providing under both the child and adult migrant education programs.

Soviet Activity in the Indian and Pacific Oceans (Question No. 477)

Mr McLeay asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

(1)   Can he say how many Soviet naval units and mercantile marine units have been deployed in -

(a)   The Pacific Ocean and

(b)   The Indian Ocean during the 9 months ended 31 March 1973.

(2)   If so, what classes and types of vessels were involved.

(3)   Can he supply similar statistics for the preceding 3 years.

MrBarnard - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   to (3) My Department has available to it some information on the presence of Soviet and other naval vessels in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

In the Indian Ocean, the Soviet Union has no naval bases; the ships it positions there are drawn from the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. Deployments from October 1971 to March 1973 were:


In addition, some five minesweepers, five salvage ships and one oiler have been engaged in port clearance operations in Bangladesh since April 1972.

Similar information for the period prior to October 1971 will be found in the Report on the Indian Ocean Region made by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1971.

As to naval activity in the Pacific, the Soviet Pacific Fleet is believed to number some 160 major naval units. These ships are based in the Soviet far east and operate primarily in the North Pacific.

Soviet merchant ships, like those of many other countries, operate on the trade routes of the Pacific and Indian Ocean. From time to time Soviet merchant ships, because the Soviet merchant marine comes entirely under State control, operate in support of naval operations. But it is not possible to provide a catalogue of all Soviet merchant marine activities in these areas. Information about them might be obtained by researching shipping news reports from countries in the region.

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