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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 149

Senator POKE asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice:

(1)   Will the Government take urgent action to prevent the proposed sale of over 1,200 square miles of the Northern Territory by. Gunn Development Pty Ltd, the family company of Sir William Gunn.

(2)   As the prospectus for this sale is aimed at American investors, will the Government initiate action in the Senate to have the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and Control give this question urgent consideration.

(3)   Is Sir William Gunn, as a Board Member of the Reserve Bank, Chairman of the Australian Wool Board, the International Wool Secretariat and the Wool Bureau, using his powerful positions to act as a salesman of Australia's heritage.

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   and (2) I am advised that the question appears to relate to the proposed sale of Gimbat Station. I am also advised that the present owners have publicly stated that the property will initially be offered for sale to Australians, so that the basis for the statement that 'the prospectus for this sale is aimed at American investors' is not known. Any sale of the property would involve the transfer of the interest of the present owners in the leasehold only, of the land. Neither lease conditions nor the Territory ordinances concerned contain restrictions on the transfer of the property to nationals of other countries.

As to consideration of this matter by the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and Control, the Committee's terms of reference appear to allow it to deal with this subject.

(3)   There is no evidence to support the suggestion made in the honourable senator's question. If the Wool Bureau referred to by the honourable senator is the Australian Wool Bureau, I would point out that this body was replaced by the Australian Wool Board in 1963.

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