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Wednesday, 1 December 1976
Page: 3020

Mr HYDE (MOORE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for National Resources. Is the Minister aware of the statement by Mr J. M. Tyler in his chairman's address to the Broken Hill South annual general meeting that 'In Australia the Commonwealth Government has now advised the company and the Christmas Island Phosphate Commission of its objective to have Queensland phosphate admitted to the Australian market?' Will the Minister tell the House whether it is the objective of the Government to admit this company to the Australian market. If so, on what terms? Will he indicate whether use of Queensland phosphate rock will at any stage be allowed to increase the price of fertiliser to the Australian farmer?

Mr NIXON (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) (Minister for Transport) -I am able to confirm that the Government has taken a decision and has advised Mr Tyler of Broken Hill South that it is desirous of supporting his company in getting the Duchess rock phosphate into the Australian phosphate system. The Duchess rock phosphate find is of enormous magnitude and of great importance to Australia, having regard to the decline of reserves of phosphate in other parts of the world. I have informed Mr Tyler by letter that the Government supports the introduction of as much as 250 000 tonnes of Duchess rock phosphate into the system this year and 500 000 tonnes next year. It is quite apparent and would be apparent to the honourable member for Moore that the larger the quantity of phosphate that can be placed in use, the lower will be the costs that ensue. As to the final terms and negotiations that the Broken Hill South Company nas entered into with the Christmas Island Phosphate Commission, I am unable to comment on that matter other than to say that negotiations are ensuing at the moment. It is the Australian Government's wish that the final price to the Australian farmer be maintained at as low a rate as possible.

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