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Wednesday, 17 October 1973
Page: 2242

Mr FAIRBAIRN (Farrer) - Mr Speaker,I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr FAIRBAIRN - Yes, I have been misrepresented by the Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor) on 2 occasions. Firstly, the Minister claimed that I was wrong when I said that the cost of bringing into production the oil and gas fields discovered on the northwest shelf by Woodside-Burmah was far greater than the $2 10m which he quoted. He laid on the table documents which purported to show that the cost of bringing the natural gas to shore from the north-west shelf fields would be between $2 10m and $2 12m. On examination, this document proved to be the estimate for developing only one of the 5 fields and, therefore, my estimate of $ 1,000m for the 5 fields was probably an underestimation.

Secondly, the Minister said that I had said that all existing contracts for uranium export were written in Australian dollars. I did not say this. What I said was - and I quote from my Press statement: the Minister knows that the EZ-Peko contracts are expressed in $A. The lowest of these contracts are equivalent today to US$8.10, while the highest goes up to US$10.83.

This makes nonsense of the Minister's claim last week that uranium contracts which were entered into prior to the recent elections had unsatisfactory prices, the best of which was US$7.25. Unfortunately, Mr Speaker, my statement was incorrectly reproduced in the 'Australian' newspaper.

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