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Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 3285

Mr FULTON (LEICHHARDT, QUEENSLAND) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Secondary Industry. Has his attention been drawn to the statement attributed to the Premier of the State of Queensland accusing the Government of Australia of responsibility for the decision by Comalco Industries Pty Ltd not to proceed at this time with the installation of an alumina refinery at Weipa or somewhere else in Queensland? How much weight should be attached to this accusation?

Mr ENDERBY (Minister for Secondary Industry) - My attention has been drawn to the remarks as reported in the newspapers, particularly in Queensland, of the Premier of Queensland. In fact it will be of some interest perhaps if I inform the House that on the Monday night before he made those remarks he and I attended a public function hosted by Queensland Alumina Ltd, and he listened to me describe the achievements of the Australian Government and he also listened to me describe the problems of this Government, and he did not dissent in any way. But, out of sight and out of mind, on the following morning he issued that Press statement. I took the first opportunity, at the opening of a plant in Gladstone the following day, to repudiate and reject it, as I do now. I strongly suggest that no weight be attached to it. The decision by Comalco was a decision it took by itself. It chose to put no reasons to the public as to why it took this decision.

Mr Anthony - It did.

Mr ENDERBY - It did not. The Premier of Queensland did. It is a well known fact that decisions of such magnitude, decisions which affect the world wide trading operations of enterprises of that sort, are influenced greatly by overseas trends, and the coming into balance of the supply and demand situation throughout the world in the processing of alumina and the marketing of aluminium is obviously and clearly the most important thing that that company must have had in mind. It is sheer, rank, irresponsible political opportunism on the part of the Queensland Premier to try to score cheap political points in the way in which he did in Queensland.

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