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Friday, 21 May 1965


Senator PALTRIDGE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Defence) - I have not seen the statement attributed to Mr. Sprigg in the "Queensland Mining Journal", but I hasten to assure the honorable senator that the Government is aware of the importance of indigenous oil to Australia and is encouraging the search in many ways. These include the subsidy scheme, geological and geophysical investigations in the field and in the laboratory by the Bureau of Mineral Resources, map preparation toy the Division of National Mapping, taxation concessions and relief from import duties. The sum of £5 million is available for payments under the Petroleum Search Subsidy Act during the current financial year and almost £21 million has been committed since the inception of the subsidy scheme.

The Government was very reluctant to impose any restrictions on the operation of the scheme, but when the encouragement from discovery wells resulted in a large increase in the exploration effort it became obvious that some restriction on the scheme was necessary to limit the burden on the Australian taxpayer. Various methods to achieve this were considered, and the most favoured of these was restriction of subsidy in areas where discoveries had been made so that the available funds could be concentrated in other areas where more effort was required to discover oil.

Discovery wells encourage further exploration in the areas around them, and the Government is satisfied that the exclusion of these areas from subsidy is the best method to ensure that subsidy funds are spent to the best advantage.







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