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Wednesday, 9 November 1938


Mr McEwen n. - On the 26th October, the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Price) asked the Treasurer the following question, upon notice : -

1.   Will he explain the followingitems of expenditure for the year ended the 30th June, 1938, which are shown in the trust, fund statement in the budget papers : - " Petroleum, Oil Search. £74,880 0s.9d. " and " Prospecting for petroleum, £4,010 10s. 3d."?

2.   How, where, and with what results, was the money spent?

The information desired by the honorable member is as follows : - 1 and 2. The Petroleum Oil Search Trust Account of £250,000 was established under the provisions of the Petroleum Oil Search

Acts 1936. Particulars regarding the expenditure from this account were tabled on the 7th October, 1938. The money has been expended on advances to operating companies, the purchase of modern drilling equipment and administrative expenditure. An amount of £166,933 15s. 7d. remained in the account on the 30th June, 1938. The money advanced to companies has been expended on geological survey work and test drilling at Roma, Hutton Creek and Arcadia, Queensland; at Kulnura andMulgoa, New South Wales; and at Lakes Entrance and Longford, Victoria. Four drilling plants have been purchased. One is at Hutton Creek, another at Kulnura, while a third has been made available for the joint Government scout drilling campaign inGippsland. The fourth plant is stored in Sydney, but an application for its hire is under consideration. The Prospecting for Petroleum Trust Account was created under the Petroleum Prospecting Acts 1926, 1927 and 1928. Only £388 3s.11d. remained in this account at the 30th June, 1938. The expenditure of £4,010 10s. 3d. from this fund during the financial year 1937-38 comprised a contribution of £4,000 by the Commonwealth to the fund provided jointly by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments for the scout drilling campaign in Gippsland. The balance was incurred on administrative expenses. While actually no oil in commercial quantities is being obtained, it is considered that the search for oil in Australia has progressed materially as a result of the expenditure incurred by the Government. Much additional information is available and generally improved methods are being employed by operating companies.

LOSS of AIR-LINER " KYEEMA.''


Mr Lyons - Yesterday the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan),' asked me a question, without notice, in which ho referred to a report that the committee, investigating the disaster to the airliner Kyeema, directed that evidence relating to Royal Australian Air Force Avro Anson bombers should not be published.

I desire to inform the honorable member that the Commonwealth Government directed the committee of inquiry to investigate the disaster so that it would report upon the cause or causes, with a view to obviating such accidents in the future. The committee was free to conduct its inquiry in any way that it desired, and if for certain reasons it was deemed by the committee to be inadvisable to publish certain evidence, such a decision was the responsibility of the committee. The Government does not propose to issue directions to the committee other than those given at the beginning of the investigation. The Government considered that the committee should be free to conduct its investigations in its own way. The Government has issued no instructions to the committee as to what evidence should be published or not published, nor does it propose to issue any such instruction.







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