§ Mr. Dalton
(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is able to state the present position in regard to the discussions now proceeding with the Government of Australia on the possibility of aircraft production?
§ The Secretary of State for Air (Sir Kingsley Wood)
Yes, Sir, I am glad to be able to announce that the United Kingdom Air Mission which, by arrangement 1465 with the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, has been investigating the possibility of aircraft production in Australia, has now completed its report. The Mission's recommendations have been considered by the United Kingdom Government and the Commonwealth Government and both Governments have decided to accept them generally and put them into operation forthwith. Immediate action will be taken for the manufacture in Australia of air frames to a British design suitable for Australian requirements and also for those of the Royal Air Force in the Far East.
The report of the Mission emphasises the extent to which engineering resources have been developed in recent years in Australia. Full advantage will accordingly be taken of these resources by a system of widespread sub-contracting throughout the engineering industry. This will accelerate production in peace and create a capacity for expansion in emergency. Arrangements are being made for the supply from England of engines and certain materials and items of equipment, pending completion of arrangements for their manufacture in Australia. This scheme is an important contribution to Empire Defence, and the House will appreciate, I know, the success which has attended the efforts of the Mission, who have performed their task in Australia with great expedition.
§ Mr. Dalton
Do I understand from that answer that the manufacture of airframes in Australia will start very shortly, but that the manufacture of engines will not be developed until a later date?
§ Mr. Garro Jones
Will the aircraft to be manufactured in Australia be for the use of the Royal Australian Air Force or for the Royal Air Force of this country, and have the financial arrangements yet been concluded?
§ Sir K. Wood
Yes, Sir, I referred to that matter in my answer. I said that immediate action would be taken for the manufacture in Australia of air frames of British design suitable for Australian requirements and also for those of the Royal Air Force in the Far East.
§ Mr. Simmonds
Will the whole of this manufacture be by private enterprise or will any be done in State factories?