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Thursday, 26 November 1959


Mr Bury y asked the Minister in Charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, upon notice -

1.   What are the limitations on available resources which have obliged the Coal Research Section of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, as stated in the Annual Report for 1958-59, to restrict severely the work on combustion and coal cleaning and on the mechanical properties of Australian coals?

2.   Could the position be corrected by the provision of additional funds, new laboratory facilities and more staff?

3.   Is it possible to recruit supplementary staff in Australia without retarding other research of non-essential character?

4.   Has any attempt been made to recruit qualified staff overseas?

5.   Is this research work likely to be undertaken at Ipswich in the new laboratory of the Australian Coal Association (Research) Ltd. or in the Association's projected central coal research laboratory at Ryde?


Mr CASEY - The Prime Minister gave an assurance in his election speech that the Government would consider the possibility of augmenting resources for coal research. As a result of this a special Coal Utilization Research Advisory Committee has been formed. The members of the Committee are - Mr. W. W. Pettingell (Chairman, Dr. R. S. Andrews, Professor J. P. Baxter, Mr. S. F. Cochran, Mr. J. R. A.

Glenn, Mr. F. L. McCay, Dr. F. W. G. White, Dr. H. K. Worner, Dr. R. K. Warner (Technical Secretary). The terms of reference of the Committee are - The Committee is to examine the work of the C.S.I.R.O. Coal Research Section and other Commonwealth institutions and will make recommendations to the Government at a later date. The answers to your specific questions are -

1.   C.S.I.R.O. Coal Research Section wishes to continue its work on combustion, coal cleaning and on the mechanical properties of Australian coals. It is true to say that this work is partly restricted by the difficulty of recruiting suitable staff and because unlimited funds are not available.

2.   It is true to say that the position could be corrected by the provision of additional funds, new laboratory facilities and more staff. However, when considering the use to which new research funds are put it is of course necessary to consider all of Australia's problems that would benefit by scientific research. Some order of priority must be made. Additional funds alone would not solve the problem - availability of staff would become a major issue.

3.   The majority of the research staff of the section has been recruited from overseas as there are few centres in Australia providing courses in fuel technology or associated subjects. It would be difficult to find new staff at short notice either in Australia or overseas. There appears to be a world demand for such specialists.

4.   Has been answered in 3.

5.   The research programme of the Australian Coal Association (Research) Limited is determined by the member companies of the Association. However, C.S.I.R.O. does contribute financially to their work and does collaborate with them.







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