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Tuesday, 20 November 1973
Page: 1945

Senator Cant (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Special Minister of State, upon notice:

(   1 ) Did the Right Honourable J. G. Gorton, while Prime Minister, on 5 May 1970, announce that a Royal Commission had been appointed to inquire into any damage that might occur to the Great Barrier Reef, as a result of oil exploration in that area.

(2)   When did the Commission first meet.

(3)   How many meetings has it had.

(4)   Has it yet made a report, interim or otherwise; if not, when is a report expected.

(5   ) What has been the cost of the Commission to date.

Senator Willesee - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   22 May 1970.

(3)   I am advised that hearings were held during the following periods: 14 July to 27 August 1970; 30 November to 1 1 December 1 970; 9 February to 2 April 1 97 1 ; 27 April 1 97 1 to 1 July 1971; 26 July to 4 December 1971; 15 February to 3 July 1972.

(4)   The Commission has not yet reported. The report is being prepared and is expected to be presented early in 1 974.

(5)   The figures are being completed. There is a considerable effort in doing this, and I will provide the honourable senator with the details as soon as possible. The figure expended by the Australian Government to 30 June 1973 is in the order of S62 1,000.

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