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Tuesday, 29 September 1942

Mr BEASLEY - There has been constant agitation in numerous quarters for the pooling of petrol supplies, in order to avoid overlapping by the different companies and, consequently, over-use of petrol in transport, undue wear on rubber tyres, and the employment of excess man-power.

Mr Wilson - The producers are now doing that work.

Mr BEASLEY - I have stated the argument that was advanced in favour of the centralization of petrol supplies. A similar demand was made by the Army authorities. It was argued that pooling arrangements would best suit the conditions of the country in a time of war. These arrangements took some time to develop, because of the various oil interests affected. After a good deal of discussion and many conferences, both the large and the small companies agreed to a pool. The control of the pool is in the hands of the companies themselves, each company having a representative upon the committee. Determination of the localities in which supplies shall be made available also is a matter for the pool. There have been numerous complaints. In the circumstances, these could naturally be expected. All that have come before me I have forwarded to the Pool Committee, with the request that it. shall examine the effect that centralization has been having upon the interests to which the honorable member has referred. In some instances, adjustments have been made. If honorable members will supply particulars of unfair operation of the arrangement, I shall take whatever steps may be open to me to rectify the position.

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