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Wednesday, 7 December 1960

Mr POLLARD (Lalor) .- This bill is very intimately related to the measure with which we have just dealt. The Opposition approves of the measure, although I am somewhat perturbed about one part of it. The Government says that this bill refers to the Government's obligation to the producers of sulphuric acid from sulphurbearing materials who had co-operated or planned to co-operate in the policy of producing sulphuric acid from indigenous sulphurbearing materials. Upon reading through the bill I find that after a specified date no new producers of this material may qualify for bounty. To-day, mention was made of a case in the Lithgow district of which the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) would have some knowledge. It relates to a man who is treating certain ores in the recovery of certain metals and, in the course of treating those ores, he is producing pyrites. Because of the time limit contained in this bill, that man will not qualify for bounty when he has his plant in full production. If the Government is really serious in its desire that the production of sulphuric acid from indigenous material shall continue, my personal opinion is that nobody should be debarred from qualifying for bounty provided he can fulfil all required conditions. If somebody who is treating ores at Lithgow or anywhere in the Blue Mountains produces this useful byproduct, and can find a market for his pyrites with acid producers, he ought to be eligible for the bounty.

Mr Osborne - He will not get the bounty.

Mr POLLARD - No. You have stated that. That makes my contention correct that the Government does not want to extend the production of sulphuric acid from our own local materials which exist almost in unlimited quantities.

Mr Osborne - Not at an uneconomic rate.

Mr POLLARD - There can be a wide difference of ODinion on what is an eco nomic rate. I do not want to delay the measure. I ask the Minister to look at this matter further. I think that the honorable member for Macauarie will have a few words to say on the bill. We do not want to press the matters that I have raised, but we think there is a case to consider. If my contention is correct, the Government may be able to open the gate wide enough to allow this individual in. I do not know the full particulars, but it appears to be a bona fide case for investigation. The Opposition is disappointed that the whole tenor of this measure and the preceding one is to discourage the future production of sulphuric acid from indigenous material so long as we can, fortuitously perhaps, import brimstone and so make sulphuric acid at what is considered to be a more economic price than the price of production from local materials. I leave it at that.

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