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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 898

Senator DAVIDSON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Does the Minister for Civil Aviation recall my question of some time ago relating to fare structures within Australia which might reflect the reduction in overseas fare structures, and his own reply indicating that his Department was making an examination of this matter? Has the Minister read of the reported statement by the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, when opening a tourist convention, in which he called for lower air fares within Australia? Can the Minister indicate any results of the examination to which I have already referred, particularly as it relates to some intra-state flights which service important rural centres?

Senator COTTON - It will be remembered by the honourable senator that in the fairly detailed statement on civil aviation policy which I put down some little while ago I mentioned the fact that in negotiating new arrangements with the 2 carriers the Government was pursuing the question of encouraging the airlines to look actively at the introduction of further promotional fares in order to stimulate the domestic tourist industry. So I might say with some pride that long before anybody else showed concern for tourist activities, the Department of Civil Aviation was in the forefront of pointing out that Australia needed to have a system to encourage its own people to travel within their own country at concessional rates, wherever possible. This is also quite important to people coming from overseas. For some 12 months now we have been raising these matters with the people concerned with air transport within Australia. As honourable senators also will know, we have licensed special operators, such as East-West Airlines Ltd, for special areas and special flights where it is thought that this ought to be encouraged. I cannot say anything beyond that at the present time, except to indicate that we are in the process of talking to the 2 principal operators - TransAustralia Airlines and Ansett Airlines of Australia - about the removal of the 2-air- line policy within the context of my statement. The' particular matter that the honourable senator mentioned is a very important one and is now being taken up with them. We have to be very careful not to destroy the economic viability of the established carriers within Australia but we do have a concern to encourage people to travel at off peak times or at times of low load factors or to encourage the full loading of aircraft on special flights.

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