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Wednesday, 14 November 1973

Senator Young asked the Minister representing the Minister for Minerals and Energy, upon notice:

(   1 ) Has the Minister seen the statement made by the Premier of South Australia, Mr D. Dunstan, that 'The comments of the Minister for Minerals and Energy in relation to gas reserves in South Australia are both inaccurate and misleading'.

(2   ) Is the Minister aware that the Premier of South Australia has been negotiating for a long time for the establishment of a petro-chemical industry at Redcliffs, South Australia; if so, will the intrusion of the Federal Government place this potential South Australian industry in jeopardy.

(3)   Is the Government attempting to cripple industrial enterprise and development in this country.

Senator Wriedt (TASMANIA) (Minister for Primary Industry) - The Minister for Minerals and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) He has seen reports of the Premier's statement which he presumes relates to the answer he gave on 10 October (Hansard pages 1819/1820) when he said-

At present the dedicated reserves of Gidgealpa are doubtful and it is considered that they will not cover for more than 12 to 14 years the present commitment to supply the City of Sydney.

The facts of the matter are simple and do not suppon criticism of that answer.

The agreement between A.G.L. and the Cooper Basin producers under which gas will be supplied to the Sydney region covers supplies over a period of 30 years.

However, the gas that is to be provided under the agreement from the reserves that have so far been dedicated will be insufficient to meet the total estimated annual requirements in the years beyond 12 to 14. That is to say, on present estimates, it will then be necessary to supplement Gidgealpa gas in order to meet the needs of the Sydney region.

(2)   He is aware of such negotiations and shares the desire of the South Australian Government to see the undertaking established. He also wishes to see at least a5 1 per cent Australian equity which he believes is capable of achievement.

(3)   No.

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