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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2233


Senator CHANEY —I address my question to the Minister for Resources and Energy, and it follows the question just asked by the honourable senator from Queensland who is concerned about retailers not passing on a price reduction. I ask the Minister: Is it a fact that he delayed a reduction in the price of liquefied petroleum gas from January to March and that the price of LPG should have been significantly lower between those months, but was held up by Government action, and that he reduced the price of LPG in March at the same time as about three- quarters of the subsidy on some elements of LPG was removed by the Government?


Senator WALSH —What the price of LPG should be, particularly when it is an administered price-as LPG prices have been for a number of years-is to a substantial extent a subjective opinion. I do not know whether my opinion on what it should be is any better or worse than Senator Chaney's opinion. It is a matter of public record, stated many times and incorporated in, I believe, hundreds of letters which I have written, that the Government decided not to adjust the price on 1 January as it would have been adjusted if the policy of the previous Government had been continued. In view of the fact that the subsidy legislation expired on, I think, 27 March, the Government had made a decision to review all the factors relevant to the price of LPG and to announce a new package at the end of March, and that was done. There is no secret about that.