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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4754

Mr Fairbairn (FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Minerals and Energy, upon notice:

(   1 ) Did the Prime Minister state in Mexico that mineral exporting countries should take joint action to co-ordinate prices and quantities.

(2)   What other actions are encompassed in the Phrase resources diplomacy as used by the Government.

(3)   Does he take as a serious threat the recent statement by Mr Tanabe, of Nippon Steel, to the effect that Japan would turn to Brazil, South Africa and West Africa for iron ore and to Canada and Siberia for coal.

(4)   How many new contracts for the purchase by Japan from Australia of (a) iron ore, (b) coking coal, (c) bauxite and (d) alumina have been signed since 2 December 1972.

(   5 ) What is their total value.

Mr Connor - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(   1 ) and (2) The Prime Minister drew attention in Mexico last year to the advantages for countries which depend to a large extent on mineral exports in consulting with each other and exchanging information on those exports.

The Prime Minister has also said that Australia must have appropriate national policies about the development and exploitation of our resources and that internal and international questions relating to those resources are inextricably linked. The Government's resources policy rests on five considerationsAustralia's future energy and industrial requirements must be met; full account must be taken of the effect of mining on the rights of our Aboriginal people; opportunities should be enlarged for Australians to share in the ownership and development of Australian mineral resources; encouragement should be given for greater processing of minerals in Australia; and efforts must be made to ensure that our resources command a fair price in world markets. The Government will take such action as is appropriate to advance its policy aims in this area.

(3)   Japan's purchases of Australian coal and iron ore to meet the raw material requirements of the Japanese steel industry are at record levels. In addition, new developments in the demand for steaming coal for power generation, following the oil crisis, indicate that Japan will be importing 10 million tonnes p.a. by the end of the decade, most of which will come from Australia. In recognition of the great importance of this trade, which is, of course, mutually advantageous to both countries, I have developed close working relations with the Japanese Government and the Japanese steel mills and, in particular, with Mr Tanabe 's company, Nippon Steel Corporation, which acts as the co-ordinator for the purchase of Australia iron ore and coal. As I indicated in the Parliament recently, the most senior deputation of its kind, including Mr Tanabe, is coming from Japan to Australia this month to discuss how Australia can meet the increased Japanese demands for our resources. There is no doubt that not only will Japan continue to depend on Australia as the major supplier of iron ore and coal to the Japanese market, but this dependence will increase.

(4)   (a) Nil- the Japanese steel mills are, however, currently reviewing their long-term iron ore requirements and, in this respect, sent a technical survey mission to Australia in August 1974 to examine existing and proposed iron ore mines in Western Australia.

(b)   24.

(c)   10.

(d)   2.

(5)   $A1800m.

Commonwealth-owned Land: Municipal Rates (Question No. 946)

Mr Bungey asked the Minister for Services and Property, upon notice:

What applications for ex gratia payments by municipal and shire councils in Western Australia have been approved, refused or deferred since 30 June 1 972.

Mr Daly - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

I refer the honourable member to the answer given to the right honourable the Leader of the Opposition to Question No. 569(Hansard 15 October 1974 p. 2371).

Without prolonged investigations involving all departments it is not possible to provide accurate details of the information required.

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