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Tuesday, 21 March 1972
Page: 691

Senator WILLESEE - Is the Minister for Civil Aviation currently considering proposals that Trans-Australia Airlines should be permitted to broaden its activities to include areas such as tourist facilities and hotels, ground transport where it would assist passenger and freight operations, and obtaining outside engineering contracts for its large facilities at Melbourne? Does the Minister regard yesterday's announcement of the substantial buying into Ansett Transport Industries by Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd as being a good reason for allowing TAA to broaden its economic base so that it can maintain its competitive position?

Senator COTTON (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Civil Aviation) - The question is a long one. I shall do my best to answer the points as I heard them. Trans-Australia Airlines, which is operated by the Australian National Airlines Commission, and the scope of its activities are part of a general study that is being conducted by the Department of Civil Aviation and myself of all the ramifications, of the 2- airline policy. One should have regard to what might be called the public interest, the economic viability and possibilities of both operators in the system, and the necessary changes that might be called for in time to serve the public interest better. The second part of the question, which dealt with the change in shareholding in Ansett Transport Industries, is really a matter for that company. As far as I can judge, what has happened is that 2 Australian shareholders have sold their shares to another Australian shareholder. I do not think I can comment beyond that at present, except to say that the matter is being kept under close observation.

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