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Wednesday, 28 October 1970

Mr Kirwan asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice:

(1)   Has Commonwealth assistance been extended to State Governments for electrical power production.

(2)   If so, (a) what was the nature of the assistance in each case, (b) to which States was it extended, (c) when was the assistance given, (d) what specific plants were assisted, (e) what was the extent of the loan or grant in each case, and (f) how many loans or grants were for coal burning plants.

(3)   Has the Western Australian Government sought assistance from the Commonwealth to extend the Muja Station.

(4)   If not, would favourable consideration be given to such a request.

Mr Swartz - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   The Commonwealth has agreed to provide two States with financial assistance for electricity production projects.

In the first case, under the Tasmania Agreement (Hydro Electric Power Development) Act 1968 the Commonwealth is providing Tasmania with bridging financial assistance, subject to an overall limit of $47 million to assist in the acceleration of a five-year programme of electric power developments which include the Mersey/Forth scheme and the Middle Gordon project. The financial assistance is by way of interestbearing loans each repayable over a period of 8 years commencing not later than 15th December, 1975.

In the second case, under the Gladstone Power Station Agreement Act 1970 the Commonwealth will provide financial assistance to Queensland by way of loans to help finance the construction of a thermal power station at Gladstone in Central Queensland. The amount to be provided by the Commonwealth for the project is proportionate to the total cost of the power station in the ratio of 80 to 155. The estimated total cost of the power station (together with local reticulation) at 1968 prices is SI 55 million and on this basis the estimated total amount of the Commonwealth's financial assistance is S80 million. This is the only instance where the Commonwealth has provided financial assistance for coal-burning plants.

As well as these two cases where assistance has been granted for electricity production as such, mention should also be made of assistance provided by the Commonwealth to South Australia under the Natural Gas Pipeline (South Australia) Agreement Act 1967. This is in the natura of bridging financial assistance and is up to a maximum of $15 million to help finance the construction of a natural gas pipeline from GidgealpaMoomba to Adelaide. The financial assistance is by way of interest-bearing loans each repayable over a period of 8 years commencing 15th December, 1972. The relevance of this project to electricity generation lies in the fact that the principal initial market for the natural gas is the Torrens Island power station.

(3)   No.

(4)   Any such request would be considered on its merits.

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