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Thursday, 17 March 1966

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I am sure that we all welcome the discoveries which have occurred off the coast of Victoria and join in hoping that the optimistic expectations which have been expressed regarding them will be fulfilled in the result. The latest operations, of course, are the result of combined activities on the part of one leading Australian organisation and a very experienced American organisation. As to the supply of gas to Victoria, I am not aware of any view other than that reported in the Press as having been expressed by the Premier of Victoria, nor am I conscious that we have received any formal approach from him in relation to this matter. I can assure the honorable member that we would look with very great care and constructively at any proposal which may come on any matter which is of such importance to the economy. As honorable gentlemen will have gathered from earlier replies to questions, the Government has been in discussion through the Reserve Bank of Australia with banks and financial institutions to see whether we can devise means whereby Australia's prospective participants in ventures of this sort can turn to Australian financial sources in order to finance the equity element in their share of any such undertaking.

Mr Daly - Take your time.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - If the honorable member's colleague is interested, as I believe he and other Victorians and indeed Australians generally are, he will want the information I am supplying. I am prepared to leave it at that, Mr. Speaker. We are showing an active interest in this matter.

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