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Wednesday, 3 October 1984
Page: 1109

Senator SIBRAA —My question is directed to the Minister for Resources and Energy and concerns the new pricing and subsidy arrangements for liquefied petroleum gas announced by the Minister in March this year. It refers specifically to the 1 October adjustments that are part of these new arrangements. Can the Minister advise the Senate of the details of LPG price and subsidy to apply from this week?

Senator WALSH —In conformity with the policy that the Government announced at the end of March this year, the price of LPG, be it the subsidised price or the non- subsidised price, will be slightly reduced as from 1 October. The basis of the policy announced on 1 March is that the wholesale price paid for Australian LPG, whether it be refinery LPG or oil field LPG, would be adjusted from a base in accordance with either the movement in the consumer price index fuel and light component or the export parity price, averaged over a period, whichever was the lower.

The price has been reduced because the fuel and light component of the consumer price index fell slightly during that six-month period and the wholesale price paid to producers, the subsidised price paid by consumers and the non-subsidised price paid by consumers will all be reduced. The order of magnitude of the reduction is just over $3 a tonne. That is a small reduction and I would not want to make too much of it, but the more important point to be made-and one cannot expect that the fuel and light component of the CPI will continue to fall quarter by quarter or six months by six months-is that as a result of the pricing policy introduced in March of this year there will no longer be violent fluctuations in LPG prices in either direction, but there will be stability. That fact will be well appreciated, particularly I might add by local government organisations in Senator Sibraa's State of New South Wales.