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Tuesday, 26 September 1972
Page: 1137

Senator WRIEDT (TASMANIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I ask: Was the statement by Sir Reginald Ansett last Friday correct when he claimed that a factor in the purchase of additional 700 series Boeings by both Ansett Airlines of Australia and Trans-Australia Airlines would be for their operation between Australia and Papua New Guinea? As Qantas Airways Ltd will now operate this service after independence, what impact will this additional capacity have on Australia's internal services and will it in fact mean an over-capacity for both of the internal operators? Did the Department of Civil Aviation enter into discussions at the same level with Ansett and TAA as it did with Qantas on proposals to operate the Papua New Guinea service after independence?

Senator COTTON - The honourable senator has asked a rather long question. I will seek to remember the elements of it as I go along. The Department of Civil Aviation does not give any priority to any particular arm of the air transport service; it treats them all equally. That may be assumed to have been the case in the past and to be the case at present. I hope that it will be always the case in the future. As far as the capacity of the Australian airline industry is concerned, the 700 series was designed to take its proper share of the load in the situation that will develop in the years that lie ahead. A part of it would be flying to and from Papua New Guinea.

If the honourable senator were to read carefully the statement which was issued by the Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea and myself, and which was later amplified on in this Parliament, he would find what is proposed for Papua New Guinea is a joining together for the service of the people of Papua New Guinea of the Ansett activities, the Australian National Airlines Commission activities and the Qantas activities. Therefore, there will be no more equipment required than what already exists. I think what can be assumed in this situation is that a sensible resolution of the equipment available will be made. That is what one would expect, lt is a matter for the future to determine. I do not want to prejudge the situation. I certainly do not intend to take sides between one operator and another.

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