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Wednesday, 2 November 1983
Page: 2257

Question No. 498


Mr Blanchard asked the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy, upon notice, on 13 September 1983:

(a) What are the prices of (a) liquefied petroleum gas and (b) natural gas for (i) household and (ii) commercial purposes in each of the States.

(2) Are any supply and price arrangements with companies sanctioned by State Governments or the Commonwealth Government; if so (a) with which companies; (b) what are the contracted prices; and (c) what are the conditions of supply.


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

(1) As retail prices of gas, both bottled and reticulated, are affected by the volumes purchased, a simple comparison of price schedules can be a cumbersome and misleading exercise. To reflect the varying consumption levels that occur in the different States and to facilitate comparisons, prices for household consumption in the following table have been calculated from published price schedules on the basis of average household consumption in each State. The country centres listed have both bottled and reticulated gas available and the prices quoted are considered typical for each State.

Cents/megajoule

Household Commercial

users (a) users (b)

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-

Bathurst (N.S.W.)-

Reticulated 1.75 1.13 Bottled 1.75 1.13 Victoria-

Reticulated 0.49 0.59 Bottled 1.02 0.88 Bundaberg (Qld)-

Reticulated 2.22 1.65 Bottled 2.19 1.62 Mt Gambier (S.A.)-

Reticulated 1.28 1.07 Bottled 1.46 1.00 Albany (W.A.)-

Reticulated 1.17 0.84 Bottled 1.41 1.18 Launceston (Tas.)-

Reticulated 2.35 2.04 Bottled 1.45 1.16 Natural gas-

Sydney (N.S.W.) 0.84 0.69 Melbourne (Vic.) 0.49 0.59 Brisbane (Qld) 1.20 0 .97 Adelaide (S.A.) 0.81 0.58 Perth (W.A.) 0.94 0.73

Source: Gas distributors.

(a) Typical consumption levels assumed to be 14,800 megajoules per annum (MJ pa ) in New South Wales, 52,470 MJ pa in Victoria, 9,560 MJ pa in Queensland, 25, 630 MJ pa in South Australia, 18,500 MJ pa in Western Australia, and 11,540 MJ pa in Tasmania. Consumption levels are based on data published by the Australian Gas Association.

(b) Based on estimated median consumption for Australia of 40,000 MJ pa.

(2) The wholesale price of LPG sold by petroleum refineries is subject to surveillance by the Petroleum Products Pricing Authority. Under arrangements introduced in April 1980, the Authority sets the price for LPG on 1 January and 1 July each year at the lower of either the export parity price or the April 1980 LPG price of $205 per tonne indexed to movements in the price of domestic crude oil since that time. Producers of naturally occurring LPG have agreed to supply the domestic market at the same price.

Price and supply arrangements for natural gas are traditionally the responsibility of State governments. In the cases of Victoria and Western Australia, the utilities reticulating natural gas are owned by the State governments. In the other States the utilities are mainly privately owned but operate under State legislation which invariably provides for comprehensive controls including prices charged to domestic consumers.

As there are a very large number of supply arrangements involving Commonwealth and State government organisations and companies for the supply of gas it is not practicable to catalogue all such arrangements.