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Thursday, 17 March 1966

Mr BEATON (BENDIGO, VICTORIA) - I direct the attention of the Prime Minister to the discovery of natural gas on the continental shelf off Victoria and I ask: Is he aware that the Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte, suggested on his return from the United States that the changeover to and distribution of this gas to industry and to householders was beyond the financial capacity of his State? The Prime Minister may remember that Sir Henry Bolte suggested at the time that the cost would be about $80 million. As this seemed to indicate a disposition to hand over the distribution of gas in Victoria to overseas financiers, will he protect the interests of the Australian community by offering to Victoria Commonwealth assistance to make practical use of this important natural asset and so enable the people of Victoria, through the Gas and Fuel Corporation of that State, to remain in control of the distribution of gas in Victoria?

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