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Tuesday, 26 November 1985
Page: 2290


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK(9.38) —Perhaps I may direct my remarks to the Minister. I do not think it is fair to talk about the absence of excise at the Commonwealth level as being a disincentive. I suggest that the way to achieve a program of energy conservation in the Commonwealth Government is to give an instruction and to see that it is carried out. Quite clearly, if, in fact, the total conversion is 144 vehicles no such instruction has been given, and certainly nothing has been carried out. So, fundamentally, that comparison on excise is non-existent. If the Minister sees the problem as being one simply of cost, and not of conservation, I suggest to him, as kindly as I can, that that is not what I am asking. We are dealing with energy conservation. Equally, as the Minister must know, whereas Australia has abundant gas supplies and a possibility of converting even natural gas in that regard, and whereas it has very perilous supplies of oil, the problem of conversion is that one would have to start now if in seven years one were to have a fleet that had saved appreciably, 10 per cent to 14 per cent. I ask the Minister to get a response from the responsible Minister along those lines.