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Thursday, 31 May 1973
Page: 2985

Mr CONNOR (Cunningham) (Minister for Minerals and Energy) - In reply to the honourable members for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) and Wakefield (Mr Kelly), let me state the position briefly: As the honourable member for Wakefield said, the Gidgealpa to Sydney pipeline concept has been well assessed, but it so happens that even the proven reserves in Gidgealpa are not sufficient to meet the fully contracted obligations of the consortium. I have a letter from the Santos company, dated 25 May, in which it points out that the reserves are deficient in aggregate in view of the commitment to South Australia of 1.3 trillion cubic feet of gas. The logical corollary of this situation is for the company to extend the pipeline to Palm Valley, which was precisely what the Australian Gas Light Co. had in mind. As to the quibble about particular rights of the Public Works Committee, I refer honourable members to clause 25 of the Bill, which states:

The Authority may, with the approval of the Treasurer, borrow moneys . . . The Treasurer may, out of moneys appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of this Act, make advances to the Authority of such amounts and on such terms as the Treasurer determines.

What more do you want than that?

Mr Wentworth - How about the first 2 subclauses? This is a fraud because you can borrow on the first 2 sub-clauses.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Berinson) - Order! The honourable member for Mackellar will cease interjecting.

Mr Wentworth - I rise to a point of order, Mr Deputy Chairman. The Minister asked me what more I wanted than that and I told him that what he is saying is fraudulent.


Mr CONNOR - It is quite simple. The matter must come before the Parliament on appropriation and there will be annual reports by the Authority to the Minister. In turn those reports will be tabled. There is to be a complete, adequate and even utter supervision by the Parliament of all the activities of the Authority. We are not prepared to accept any further amendment.

Amendment disagreed to.

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