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Tuesday, 29 August 1972
Page: 472

Senator GIETZELT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Can the AttorneyGeneral tell the Senate exactly what steps the Government has taken to ensure that foreign shareholdings in the Nabarlek uranium deposits do not exceed 15 per cent? Can he tell the Senate whether in fact the Government intends to make use of its powers under the Nabarlek legislation of 16th March to compel the resale of the excess foreign holdings in Nabarlek to Australian buyers, up to and including the Commonwealth Government?

Senator GREENWOOD - If Senator Gietzelt had read the ordinance he would appreciate what the ordinance provides and therefore the question would have been unnecessary. The Government laid down, when the original Nabarlek ordinance was introduced, that no more than 15 per cent of the shareholdings of both Queensland Mines Ltd and Kathleen Investments (Aust.) Limited could bc held by overseas owners, and that no individual overseas owner could hold more than 5 per cent. As a result of the examination of the share register which followed in the course of the 12 months after the ordinance was brought down, it was found that at the time when the ordinance was brought down something like 20 per cent of the shares were held by overseas owners. The ordinance which was introduced earlier this year froze that percentage and stated that no further foreign purchases would be registered until the overseas percentage of ownership had dropped to the original 15 per cent. The statement which 1 made over the weekend was that during the past six or seven months there had been a drop in the overseas ownership from about 21 per cent to about 17 per cent. That drop represents, as a result of the Government's policy taken earlier this year, a natural selling by overseas owners to Australian residents which has had the effect of reducing the overseas ownership. I do not know why that policy should be criticised by the Opposition.

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