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Wednesday, 20 August 1980
Page: 561

Mr Hayden asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development and Energy, upon notice, on 2 April 1 980:

(1)   Was a Mr G. R. Lynch (a) appointed to the National Energy Advisory Committee (NEAC) by the Government on 10 February 1977, (b) appointed to convene the Committee's Standing Group No. 4, Production and Utilisation of Oil and Natural Gas in Australia-Matters Relating to Transportation on 22 March 1977 and (c) appointed as Chairman of NEAC on 17 February 1978.

(2)   During this period was Mr Lynch acting as a consultant to Southern Pacific Petroleum Ltd in relation to the Rundle oil shale deposit in Queensland.

(3)   Is the Minister able to indicate whether this company, at its extraordinary general meeting held on 9 June 1978, granted Mr Lynch options over 3000 shares at$1. 75 each, exerciseable between 6 January 1 980 and 6 June 1 983.

(4)   Did Mr Lynch advise the Government of his beneficial interest in this company; if so, (a) when, (b) was this at (i) Mr Lynch 's initiative or (ii) the request of the Government for information of this kind from NEAC members and (c) what were the circumstances in which the information was provided.

(5)   Is the Minister able to state whether Mr Lynch has taken up the options referred to in part (3), or does he retain the option to take up these shares.

(6)   If Mr Lynch has not taken up or will note take up the options, can the Minister say whether Mr Lynch has relinquished the options (a) on his own initiative or (b) at the request of the Government.

(7)   Has NEAC collectively or Mr Lynch either privately or as a member of NEAC advised the Government on the feasibility of developing Rundle oil shale.

(8)   Is the Minister satisfied that Mr Lynch's advice on this matter is completely objective in view of his possible personal interest in one of the companies involved.

(9)   Is Mr Lynch a former Director of Esso Australia Ltd.

(10)   Did Mr Lynch provide the Government with any advice as to the suitability of Esso's proposal for the development of the Rundle deposit.

(   1 1 ) If the facts are as claimed in parts (9) and (10), is the Minister satisfied that Mr Lynch's advice on this matter is completely objective.

Mr Anthony (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Deputy Prime Minister) - The Minister for National Development and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   (a) (b) (c)-Yes.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   I understand that on 6 July 1978 stock options were offered to Mr G. J. Lynch by both Central Pacific Minerals NL (1000 ordinary shares at an exercise price of $4.55) and South Pacific Petroleum NL (3000 shares at an exercise price of $ 1 . 75). In both cases, the share option was exerciseable not later than 6 July 1983. These options were offered in lieu of consultancy fees.

(4)   At the time he was offered the Chairmanship of NEAC, Mr Lynch advised the then Minister that he was acting as a consultant to the Rundle companies.

(5)   Mr Lynchrelinquished his options without monetary consideration on 5 June 1979.

(6)   Mr Lynchdecided to relinquish the options following consideration, initiated by the then Minister, of the potential for their being regarded as constituting a conflict of interest.

(7)   No.

(8)   See answer to (7).

(9)   Yes.

(10)   No.

(11)   See answer to(10).

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