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Tuesday, 21 August 1973
Page: 189

Mr Bennett asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

Will the Minister for Civil Aviation have TV sets showing local programs installed in suitable airport terminal waiting areas.

Mr Charles Jones - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Department has experimented with TV sets in Sydney terminal but they were not successful. More studies will be undertaken and the Department will again examine the possibility of installing TV sets in terminals if coming passenger surveys indicate they are wanted by the majority of air passengers.

Oil from Coal and Shale (Question No. 644)

Mr James (HUNTER, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Minerals and Energy, upon notice:

(   1 ) Is an oil from a coal or shale plant an economic proposition to the Australian nation at this time.

(2)   What percentage of Australia's petroleum needs is (a) imported and (b) locally produced at the present time.

Mr Connor - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(   I ) No. I have received from the National Coal Research Advisory Committee a statement of the current status of the technology in the manufacture of oil from coal. The Committee concludes that no new process has yet been demonstrated on a commercial scale to be more economic than the existing Sasol oil-from-coal process in South Africa. The Coal Utilisation Research Advisory Committee in 1961 investigated the Sasol process for its applicability to Australian conditions, and concluded tht it would be grossly uneconomic at that time, with a requirement for continuous Government subsidy on a large scale. There has been no change in economic conditions which would alter this conclusion at the present time. However, I am having the position in regard to overseas developments observed continuously. That overseas interest in oil from coal is substantial is indicated by the current activity of international oil companies seeking rights to the black coal deposits in Australia.

In regard to oil shale, the motor spirit produced at the Glen Davis plant in N.S.W. was costing 53c per gallon to produce at the time of its closure in 1 952. In addition, the reserves of shale, and also the thickness of seams being worked, were both so low as to give no encouragement for consideration of larger scale operations which could reduce costs. A prospect at Julia Creek in North Queensland has been under investigation for several years, particularly in regard to its potential to produce a significant co-product of vanadium. So far the group of companies concerned have given no indication as to when they might be able to mount an economic operation.

(2   ) In the six months to 3 1 March 1973-

(a)   33.3 percent.

(b)   66.7 percent.

Community use of School Buildings (Question No. 643)

Mr Bennett asked the Minister for Education:

(   1 ) Is it a fact that schools which represent a high capital investment are often unused out of school hours when community buildings are lacking in the area.

(2)   If so, will he give consideration to having discussions with the State authorities as to what may be done to make available for community recreational purposes, on an organised basis, school buildings and amenities outside of school hours.

Mr Beazley - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

I believe that there is considerable potential for the use of school buildings out of school hours for community purposes. The Government's election policy includes an undertaking to establish large multi-purpose centres at school, which during the day can be used for school purposes and in afterschoolhours for adult education or for useful cultural or artistic activities, art, dancing, sport, photography and so on by all members of the community. I will certainly give consideration, in consultation with my colleague, the Minister for Tourism and Recreation, to the steps that could be taken to implement this policy. Clearly there will be a need for discussions with State authorities as part of this process. I might add that in the territories for which the Australian Government is directly responsible, considerable progress has already been made in the matter of community use of school facilities.

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