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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2391

BACKGROUND TO OMEGA INSTALLATION - STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR WILLIAM MCMAHON

Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 22/03/1971

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 2391

FOR PRESS PM. No. 37/ 1971
BACKGROUND TO OMEGA INSTALLATION.
Statement by the Prime Minister, Mr William McMahon
In reply to a question by Mr Barnard in the House of Representatives
on 18 March 1 said that negotiations had taken place between the United States
and Australian Governments on a p roposal to set up an OMEGA installation in
Australia to guide international shipping and other kinds of transport.
I said that we had agreed to the proposal but no precise location had
yet been decided. I promised that, as soon as I had precise irifornntion which I
could give to the House, I would do so.
In view, however, of continued misleading statements on the subject,
I feel it would be wise to give some further background now, even though no
decision has yet been made on a site.
OMEGA is a general purpose world-wide navigation system that can
be used by ships and aircraft of any type fitted with the appropriate equipment;
but the system is not sufficiently accurate for use either in close coastal waters
or by ballistic missile submarines.
The plan envisages eight stations in various parts of the world, four of
which have already been established. It is envisaged that control of the worldwide
system will be vested in a body cornpo8ed of representatives of each of the
participating nations.
The Australian Government has agreed to this proposal in princi* i.
A final agreement is dependent on the selection of a mutually acceptable site,
conclusion of an agreement covering its establishment and operation, and the
negotiation of acceptable financial terms and conditions.
Initially the technical specifications called for a valley of a certain
type of configuration. On this basis the choice of sites would probably have been
limited to certain areas of New South Wales or Tasmania. As a result of
technical advances, however, the equipment can now be mounted on a tower and
this has greatly enlarged the area and range of options. Consideration is being
given to possible sites but no firm conclusion have yet been reached. When a
tentative selection has been made the Government would, of course, consult
with the State authority or authorities concerned.
CANBERRA 22 March 1971
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Transcript 2391