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Tuesday, 23 April 1985
Page: 1352

Senator BOLKUS —Has the attention of the Acting Treasurer been drawn to statements made by the Victorian Premier on this Government's decision, as announced yesterday, on the price of Australian crude oil? In view of the criticisms, can the Minister advise the Senate of the financial consequences of this particular decision? Can he also say whether any of the criticisms are well based?

Senator WALSH —I have seen Press reports this morning reporting Mr Cain as having been critical of yesterday's decision to maintain the import parity pricing policy and associated allocation system for Australian crude oil, a decision which I understand was endorsed publicly-this is worth putting on the record-by both Senator Chaney and Mr Howard. Mr Cain was critical of that decision. In that decision there are revenue implications for both the Commonwealth and the State of Victoria. I have not seen an agreed figure on the revenue implications for the State of Victoria because the calculation is tied to a level of production. One of the major companies concerned, Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd, puts it at something greater than $20m. The Department of Resources and Energy has a figure of about $28m. That is additional revenue which will accrue in Victoria if the 1 May price is maintained as against the previous price.

It would appear from all that that what the Premier of Victoria was saying is that Victoria does not really need the extra revenue which will accrue to Victoria because of that price increase. If that is the case, and given that the Government is facing a very difficult budgetary situation, I think it is reasonable for the Government to take that into account when determining collections from Federal taxpayers that ought to be paid to the State of Victoria, and I will certainly be doing that.