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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 4184

Mr INNES (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Minerals and Energy. There has been much speculation in regard to the matter of bunkering fuel. I ask the Minister: Has there been a reduction in the amount of bunkering fuel available in Australian ports?

Mr CONNOR - There has been no reduction in the amount of bunkering fuel available in Australian ports. However, there has been in aggregate throughout the world as a result of the bans by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries a reduction of 20 per cent in bunkering fuel. That, of course, is associated with the overall cut of 20 per cent in petroleum available. Consequently, a number of approaches by overseas shipping firms have been made to Australia to make avail able additional supplies of bunkering fuel. Our first obligation is, naturally, to the Australian coastal shipping requirements and that obligation will be fulfilled to the letter.

There is general consternation in shipping circles throughout the world at the present situation. Those who have secured their supplies by reason of contract or by practice and tradition are putting up their freight rates - in many cases to quite extortionate levels. In other cases shipping companies are refusing to accept charter parties until the position is further clarified. The matter is being very closely watched by me and we are in almost daily communication with the spokesman for the various petroleum interests. This afternoon in order to discuss this matter and other matters, I will be meeting Messrs Kruizenga and Froggatt who are the accredited spokesmen of the Australian petroleum industry.

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