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Tuesday, 8 May 1984
Page: 1745

Senator MAGUIRE —My question is directed to the Minister for Resources and Energy. I refer to the 1981 report of the Committee of Inquiry on Electricity Generation and the Sharing of Power Resources in South East Australia, known as the Zeidler report. What is the current position regarding implementation of the Committee's recommendation No. 2, which proposed an extension of the New South Wales-Victoria interconnected power system to South Australia through the Mt Gambier and Portland areas? Have there been any significant changes in the economics of an electricity link between Victoria and South Australia since 1981 when the report was brought down?

Senator WALSH —I am advised that there is some evidence that the situation regarding a south-eastern grid or, more specifically I suppose, a link between South Australia and Victoria, has improved since the Zeidler report was brought down in 1981. The Stewart committee in South Australia has also examined the interconnection since then, as part of its study of future electricity supply options for South Australia. I understand that its findings are at present under consideration by the State Government. I have had discussions with members of the South Australian Government and the South Australian Electricity Commission on this question last year and also with Senator Maguire from time to time. From those discussions I have been told that because of the different peak loading requirements of the South Australian and Victorian grids there would be substantial economies in an interchange of power and that that option, as I understand it, is being very seriously pursued by the South Australian Government. But it is really a question principally for the South Australian Government and, to a lesser extent, probably for the Victorian Government to decide whether the proposals should proceed further, rather than one in which the Commonwealth would be involved in the decision making, although, of course, we appreciate being briefed by the respective governments on the position as they see it and their plans.