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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

Senator FRASER (Western AustraliaMinister for External Territories) (Minister for External Territories) . - On the 13 th May Senator Lamp asked a question, without notice, concerning the distribution of apples to the troops in Tasmania. I now inform the honorable senator that the military authorities in Tasmania will be able to distribute to the troops in that State such quantities as can be made available by the Apple and Pear Board, insofar as transport facilities will permit collection at packing sheds within reasonable distance of points where distribution to troops can be effected. As the transport of apples from Tasmania to the mainland is not practicable the distribution of Tasmanian apples must be confined to Tasmania.

On the 5th March, Senator Arthur asked the following questions : -

(a)   Whether it was a fact that the Commonwealth Government had decided in conjunction with the Government of Victoria to make a search for petroleum oil in this country (&) Was it drilling at Nelson, near the border of South Australia, and utilizing plant weighing 300 tons?

(c)   Was the selected site 50 feet from another site where a bore was sunk 1,500 feet by a man named Steinbuchel, whom a member of the Opposition, when a Minister a couple of years ago, refused permission to remain in this country?

(d)   Had drilling been carried to a depth of 2,700 feet on this site, and was water being obtained from Steinbuchel's bore for use in the boilers ?

(e)   Did the Commonwealth propose to defray half the cost of the drilling, and casing? (/) Did it refuse to allow this gentleman to return to Australia with his money and plant when he has guaranteed to provide 1,000 barrels of oil a day?

(g)   Had any consideration been given to the newer retorts that are now obtainable, such as that of Mr. A. W. Dye, of Sydney?

I now desire to inform the honorable senator that the Minister for Supply and Development (Mr. Beasley) has made the following answers available: -

(a)   An arrangement between the .Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, to carry out a joint scout drilling programme in Victoria, has been in existence for some years, each Government paying half the cost of work done under the scheme.

(6)   and (o) A bore is being drilled at Nelson at a site 400 feet from the bore drilled by the Western Petroleum Company, with which Mr. Steinbuchel was associated.

(d)   Boring has reached a depth of 2,S00 feet and will be carried' to bed rock- if possible. Water is not required for boiler purposes, the plant being operated on diesel oil.

(e)   The Commonwealth does not feel that it is under any obligation to advance money to the company. (/) I have no knowledge on this matter, but the Department of the Interior may be able to furnish information regarding permits for landing in Australia. {g) The Commonwealth Fuel Adviser has been in close touch with Mr. Dye and arrangements have been made for inspection of the retorts at Mr. Dye's convenience.

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