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Thursday, 2 November 1967

Mr HANSEN (Wide Bay) - I cannot agree with the Minister when he says that it is good to have all the areas taken up. It is true that large areas have been taken up, but they have been taken up by single companies. This is one of the few occasions on which I can agree with the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth), but I agree with him when he questions the merit of such large areas being taken up. 1 would like to know how much money has been expended since the leases were granted. Petroleum exploration companies have held leases in Australia and the Territory of Papua and New Guinea for many years and very little has been done, except for some slight exploration work. I would like an inquiry to be held into the amount of exploration work, seismic surveys and other testing that has been done to determine the quantity of oil or gas that is available in these areas. I would like to see a requirement in force that a certain amount of work must be done within a certain period. If it is not done, the lease should be surrendered.

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