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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 91

Question No. 132

Mr Jacobi asked the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy , upon notice, on 12 May 1983:

(1) Further to the reply by the former Minister for National Development and Energy to my question No. 5817, on 17 January 1983, if there is no secret agreement between the Commonwealth and the Uranium Export Group of Australia ( UEGA) will the Minister disclose the detailed terms of the Government's authorisation of UEGA to conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of a uranium industry in Australia.

(2) Is it a fact that (a) this authorisation includes agreements with technology holders to supply commercial-in-confidence information exclusively to UEGA, (b) the Commonwealth has accepted the recommendations of UEGA as stated in UEGA's final report; that the UEGA joint venturers be authorised to undertake a full feasibility study with Government support as outlined in section 6 in the final report, (c) the Commonwealth has accepted the further recommendation of UEGA as to URENCO-CENTEC technology being the choice for Australian application and (d) UEGA has signed detailed heads of agreement with URENCO-CENTEC to supply their technology and the necessary classified information upon the Commonwealth concluding the necessary intergovernmental agreement between Australia, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (UK).

(3) Does the Commonwealth's acceptance of the UEGA recommendations mean that the authority to UEGA will provide UEGA with the right to establish the uranium enrichment industry upon the signing of the international treaty between Australia, the FRG, the Netherlands and the UK.

(4) Is the Commonwealth Government aware of the detailed proposals submitted by the South Australian Government to the previous Government in July 1980.

(5) Does the Government acknowledge that proposals of this kind need to be considered along with any other proposals in relation to the UEGA proposals and recommendations.

(6) Will the Government institute a full public inquiry into uranium processing in Australia, taking into account submissions from the public, the State governments and UEGA before either international treaties or agreements authorising commercial processing of uranium are concluded.

Mr Barry Jones —The Minister for Resources and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) The authorisation given to the Uranium Enrichment Group of Australia (UEGA) was contained in a letter from the former Minister for National Development and Energy to the Chairman of UEGA, the terms of which were conveyed in the former Minister's press release of 3 June 1981 on this subject.

(2) (a) No.

(b) The previous Government authorised UEGA to undertake the full feasibility study subject to satisfactory arrangements being finalised with a foreign technology holder and the Commonwealth Government.

(c) On 6 October 1982 the previous Government announced that it had accepted UEGA's recommendation that the centrifuge technology offered by URENCO-CENTEC be the basis for further study by UEGA.

(d) No.

(3) No.

(4) Yes.

(5) In light of the ALP platform the Government is considering its position on uranium enrichment in the context of its general review of matters relating to uranium. Consideration of any such proposals will depend on the outcome of the review.

(6) It would be premature to reach any decision as to the appropriateness or otherwise of a further public inquiry until the Government's current review has been completed.