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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 1955

Senator McMANUS (VICTORIA) - I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Air. Having regard to the extreme economic cuts announced in Royal Australian Air Force operations, can the Government explain why it has underwritten extremely costly actions to assist gliding contests and operations to be held in Australia? Will the Government inform us of the full extent of RAAF assistance ordered and the estimated cost?

Senator BISHOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) - When the first request was received from the Gliding Federation of Australia for assistance from the RAAF in the form of some towing by Air Force aircraft, the Government at the time, on the advice of the RAAF, decided that the necessary alterations or modifications to Winjeel aircraft would be too expensive. But representations were made by large numbers of members of Parliament and by organisations, pointing out that the contests were international. Reconsideration was given to the matter and some alterations, which I cannot specify, were made; nor can I, at this stage, indicate what costs are involved. While the costs of the program about which we are talking may be fairly expensive I do not think they are relevant to the cut-backs in the Air Force. In relation to the amount involved, I will obtain the information and give it to the honourable senator.

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