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Friday, 16 July 1926

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW (Queensland) (Minister for Home and Territories) [2.40]. - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The object of the bill is to amend the Petroleum Prospecting Act 1926, to enable the expenses incidental to the administration of that act to becharged against the moneys appropriated by the act. Under the act, as it stands, administrative expenses cannot be so charged. The regulations provide for the recipients of a subsidy in aid of boring to enter into an agreement with the Government, which requires them to carry out boring operations in a manner satisfactory to the Minister, to make satisfactory provision for the shutting off of water from the bore, where necessary, and to do other things which the Minister may consider necessary to safeguard the public interest. To enable effective supervision to be exercised over boring operations and a proper check made of claims for reimbursement of expenditure, it is proposed to appoint an inspector, with practical experience of oil fields in other parts of the world, who will be required periodically to visit the various sites at which subsidized boring is being carried out, look into the methods being employed, examine the well logs and other local records, and report thereon to the Minister. The appointment will, of course, be of a temporary character only, and will terminate when subsidized boring operations come to an end. As the act stands at present, the cost of the inspector's salary, and other similar administrative expenses, cannot be charged against the petroleum prospecting trust fund. It is considered that such expenses are a fair charge against the fund., and the amending bill will make it possible to charge them to that fund.

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