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Wednesday, 6 October 1971
Page: 1917

Mr O'KEEFE (PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for National Development: Have Japanese purchases of coking coal decreased considerably in the last 3 months? Will this have a serious effect on the operation of our coalmines and the coalmining industry? Can the Minister advise on the current situation?

Mr SWARTZ (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for National Development) - I am afraid that I have not the figures relating to orders that have been delivered during the last 3 months, but I assume that the honourable member is referring principally to the shipment of coal from ports in New South Wales. The total figures for the last few months have shown some slight increase over the previous 3 months when there had been a downturn in the orders that were being delivered. One of the problems at the present time is that there has been a falling off in the steel industry in Japan. This has meant some slowing' down in the Japanese taking up orders which have already been placed in Australia, and also some stockpiling at ports and at pit heads for a temporary period. That situation has been overcome to some degree over the last couple of months, and the understanding is that the new but lower base that has now been established for deliveries in the future will be maintained. On present indications these deliveries will be under the estimates which have previously been given for the period up to 1975. However, we expect that the base that has now been established will be maintained, with some possibility of its improving over the next 2 years.

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