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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 1460

Senator WRIGHT - My question which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Minerals and Energy refers to the answer that the Minister was good enough to give to me yesterday in response to my previous representations in regard to revaluation compensation for the tin miners of north-eastern Tasmania. I notice that the Minister says in answer that the representations of the small tin miners are now being examined and a decision will be reached as soon as possible. I ask the Minister to note that that language does not indicate any sense of urgency. I ask him to assure me that the Minister for Minerals and Energy realises that these are small tin miners whose continued livelihood is threatened by rising costs and that a decision is urgent. Further, the answer refers to the fact that the price of tin per metric ton has increased from $27.48 before the first revaluation to a present figure of $3 1 .86. Lest that be a misleading guide, I remind the Minister that I said that although there has been that marginal increase in price, if there had been no intervention by the Government the present price would be nearer $40 per metric ton, and that in the meantime rising costs have absorbed the whole of this marginal increase in price.

Senator WRIEDT - I am not even clear what the question is. I did not even know that I had been asked a question.

Senator WRIGHT -I will put it again, Mr President. I ask the Minister, firstly, whether he will assure me that despite the apathetic terms in the first part of the answer I received yesterday, the Minister for Minerals and Energy understands the need for an urgent decision. Secondly, will the Minister assure me that despite the language used in respect of the increase in price, the

Minister for Minerals and Energy understands that but for the Government's intervention, the price would have been nearly $ 10 per metric ton more, and that in the meantime the increase in price referred to has been absorbed by rising costs? Do I penetrate now?

Senator WRIEDT -I would have thought that the phrase 'as soon as possible' would have penetrated anybody's mind as indicating that that is as soon as anything can be done. That was mentioned in the answer that I gave the honourable senator yesterday. I am sure that the other matters referred to in the honourable senator's comments will be taken into account when the matter is considered by the committee.

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