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Thursday, 2 November 1967

The CHAIRMAN - Order! There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr WENTWORTH - My first amendment proposes to insert a new clause in the Bill and the second refers to clause 47, which reads in part: (1.) Where-

(a)   a licence is surrendered or cancelled as to a block; or

(b)   a permit is surrendered, cancelled or determined as to a block -

(i)   that, at the time of the surrender, cancellation or determination, was, or was included in, a location; and

(ii)   in which, in. the opinion of the Designated Authority, there is petroleum, the Designated Authority may, at any subsequent time, by instrument published in the 'Gazette' -

(c)   invite applications for the grant of a licence in respect of that block; and

(d)   specify a period within which applications may be made.

I move:

1.   That the following new clause be inserted in the Bill: 46a. Notwithstanding anything else contained in this Act, no secondary licence shall be issued subsequent to the thirty-first day of December, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-three; but this section does not affect the eligibility for renewal of a secondary licence issued before that date.'.

2.   At the end of clause 47 add the following sub-clauses: (8.) No person who is not an Australian citizen, and no company which is not an Australian company, and no group which does not consist entirely of Australian citizens and Australian companies shall be granted a licence under this section.

In this sub-section, " Australian company " means a company in which:

(a)   all directors are Australian citizens;

(b)   not less than one-half of the shares are, in the final analysis, owned by Australian citizens; and

(c)   no person who is not an Australian citizen and no body outside Australia (whether incorporated or unincorporated) and no company which is not an Australian company exercises control over its policy or operations, whether directly or indirectly. (9.) If a licence granted under this section comes under the control or ownership of a person, body or company to whom it could not have been granted under sub-section (8.) of this section, whether the change occur by transfer of licence or alteration of the nature of the licensee, person, body or company, the Minister may, subject to the provisions of section 105 of this Act, cancel the licence.'

The two amendments operate together. They are meant to restore, at least after 1973, the graticular arrangements which were originally envisaged; in other words, that override should not be permitted in new arrangements after 1973 although it would be permitted as a renewal of arrangements which were made before 1973. I have been very careful in drawing these amendments to avoid anything which would in any way impede arrangements for oil production which are now in hand. It will be seen that what I have in mind does not impede any of those arrangements whatever.

I was unable to support the amendments moved by the Opposition to clause 43 because I felt that they might impede existing arrangements and therefore slow down immediate production. It will be seen that although the amendments I have just moved do not go as far as those suggested by the Opposition, they go in the same direction. They provide that there shall be no secondary licences - no overrides - granted after 1973 and the released graticules can be bid for only by Australian companies which are appropriately defined. I think I have made my point clear. I do not at this stage propose to speak at length unless any matters need clarification.

Sitting suspended from 1130 p.m. to 12 midnight

Friday, 3 November 1967

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