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Friday, 10 December 1965

Mr McEWEN - It is a fact that at present some Australian refineries have an unused capacity for some products. Recently the industry gave evidence before the Tariff Board and intimated that when current expansion plans of the refineries are completed the refineries will be able to supply all of Australia's requirements without importing any refined products. My advice is that at present, as the honorable member says, there is a heavy expenditure on the importation of refined petroleum products amounting, I am told, to about £10 million annually. The Tariff Board in its recent report recommended deferred duties as an incentive to oil companies to meet the local demand for petroleum products. The Government announced that it did not propose to act upon the recommendation at this stage but that further consideration would be given to measures to encourage the production of a higher proportion of the more valuable products in Australian refineries. It was not thought by the Government then that a higher duty imposed on refined products would do more than give an opportunity, if it were available, to lift the price of those products now being refined in Australia.

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