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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3104

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science, upon notice, on 1 1 October 1977:

(   1 ) Is it a fact that research on solar energy is quite uncoordinated in Australia and that most research funds go to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research

Organization which is more oriented to the scientific rather than development and marketing aspects.

(2)   Is it also a fact that Australia is rapidly falling behind other countries such as Israel, Japan and the United States of America in the application of solar energy.

(3)   Is there an urgent need to bring solar energy into a sharper and more objective perspective and is the Government contemplating any action towards that end.

Mr Adermann - The Minister for Science has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: 1. (a) There is no body that is charged with the responsibility for co-ordinating solar energy research and development in Australia.

(b)   CSIRO does receive most of the Commonwealth funds expended on solar energy research.

(c)   The research is co-ordinated within the Organization and covers development as well as scientific aspects but excludes marketing.

2.   Australia is still one of the leading countries in the application of solar energy. For example, the application of solar energy at the soft drink factory in Queanbeyan was among the first industrial applications in the world. This development is shortly to be followed by a similar one at a brewery in Adelaide.

3.   The Government agrees that there is a need to bring solar energy research into a sharper and more objective perspective. However, it must be considered in relation to Australia's total energy needs. The National Energy Advisory Committee and the Australian Science and Technology Council have been asked to undertake independent examinations of Australian energy research and development needs and to advise on that matter.

When their advice is available, consideration will be given to future energy research and development policies. The report on solar energy prepared by the Senate Standing Committee on National Resources will be taken fully into account.

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