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Wednesday, 13 June 1984
Page: 2917

Senator CHANEY —My question is addressed to the Minister for Resources and Energy. I refer to the Government decision last November that said, in part, that:

no new contracts for the export of uranium from existing mines be approved until after the inquiry-

that is, the Slatyer inquiry-

has reported, subject only to two contracts already negotiated by ERA and signed in good faith with U.S. utilities, which contracts are essential to maintain the immediate viability of the projects and the export of uranium pursuant to which will be made subject to such conditions as the Government determines after the inquiry;

Given that the committee has reported and has recommended Australia's continued involvement in the uranium industry, will the Government now approve new contracts for the export of Australian uranium under appropriate safeguards?

Senator WALSH —No submission has been put to the Cabinet on that question, nor is there anything in the pipeline. I ask Senator Chaney to be patient and wait for further clarification of Government policy.

Senator CHANEY —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Does the Minister regard it as being within his jurisdiction to take an interest in the matter and to pursue the decision of whether there are to be further uranium exports from Australia?

Senator WALSH —I regard it as being partly my responsibility, partly the responsibility of the Minister for Trade and, I suppose, partly the responsibility of everybody associated with the Government.