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Tuesday, 11 September 1973
Page: 735

Mr REYNOLDS (BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Is is a fact that the Australian Government is being accused of choosing Galston for an intensive feasibility study as a possible site for Sydney's second major airport, on purely political grounds? Is this charge justified? Does the Minister recall any feasibility studies being conducted by the former Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins, before he ruled out Towra Point as a site prior to the 1969 elections, when surrounding Federal electorates were tenuously held by Liberal members? Did Sir Robert Askin, the Premier of New South Wales, consult the Minister before arbitrarily ruling out Duffy's Forest as a possible site? Does this location also happen to be in a-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I ask the honourable member to finish his question.

Mr REYNOLDS - Mr Speaker,I am right at the end. Does this location also happen to be in a Liberal stronghold?

Mr CHARLES JONES (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Transport) - What the honourable member for Barton has said is perfectly true to the effect, that in 1969 when the right honourable member for Higgins was the Prime Minister, without any advice whatsoever from his. Department or from his Minister for Civil Aviation, he issued a direction on the eve of his departure on an overseas trip that Towra Point was not to be considered-

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I rise to order, Mr Speaker. I do not regard this as an answer to a question without notice, although that is not really the substance of my point of order. The Minister should be given an opportunity to make a statement to the Parliament so that honourable members can debate this subject and also the subject of the Brisbane airport.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no substance in the point of order. I ask the honourable member to be quiet for a little while.

Mr CHARLES JONES - As I was saying, at the time when the right honourable member for Higgins who was then the Prime Minister gave the ruling that Towra Point was to be excluded from consideration, the 3 electoral seats of Cook, Barton and St George were all held by Liberal Party members. In an endeavour to save them he made that decision. I think that the whole question of Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport and the need for a second airport has to be looked at in its true perspective. Also, we have to consider the dilatory approach that was taken by the former Government. The decision made by the right honourable member for Higgins in regard to this matter was made in 1969 and in April 1969 the then Government appointed an interdepartmental committee to report on the need for a second airport for Sydney. This committee proceeded with its inquiry and reported to the then Government in September 1970 that there was a need for a second airport for Sydney. Also, it recommended certain sites. I want to quote very briefly from a speech made by the then Minister - -

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I ask the Minister to be as brief as possible.

Mr CHARLES JONES - I am being brief.

Mr Malcolm Fraser - I rise to order. Obviously, the Minister wants to go into this matter at a good deal of length. I would think that members of the Opposition would give him leave to make a statement at the conclusion of question time. Surely what he is doing is in defiance of your suggestion at the beginning of question time this morning.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I was just asking for the complete co-operation of Ministers and honourable members to make their questions and answers as brief as possible. Again, I ask the Minister to be as brief as possible. Otherwise, he should seek leave to make a statement after question time.

Mr CHARLES JONES - I am terminating the reply to the question. I draw the attention of honourable members again to the fact that the inter-departmental committee reported to the then government in September 1970. lt sat on that report for exactly 12 months until 15 September 1971 when the then Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Cotton,-

Mr Snedden - Will the honourable member make a statement at the conclusion of question time?

Mr CHARLES JONES - Senator Cottonmade a statement in the Senate on this subject. On the 13th page of his speech he said: However, the-

Mr Lynch - Mr Speaker, I rise to take order. The Minister is making a farce of the ruling that you gave earlier in this session. If he wants leave to make a statement at the conclusion of question time, he can have leave to make that statement.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I ask the Minister to co-operate with the Chair in regard to the statement that I made prior to the commencement of question time.

Mr CHARLES JONES - Mr Speaker,I am trying to co-operate with you.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Members of the Opposition have indicated that they would be willing to give leave to the Minister to make a statement so I am asking you to terminate your answer to the question as quickly as possible. I wish to get as many questions through as I can.

Mr CHARLES JONES - I am trying to cooperate with you, Sir. I am trying to quote these 4 lines as quickly as I can. The quotation is:

However, the Commonwealth's view is that for a variety of reasons Duffy's Forest and Wattamolla are neither desirable nor satisfactory sites and it hopes a quick determination between Richmond and Somersby can be made.

Mr Whitlam - When was that?

Mr CHARLES JONES - That was on 15 September 1971. When that Government went out of office in December 1972, no decision had been made.

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