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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 287

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

(1)   Has damage estimated at more than $13 million been caused by an explosion in one of the pipelines of the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

(2)   If so, has it been claimed that the explosion is a result of a failure in the prestressed concrete of the pipes of the Geehi Aqueduct.

(3)   If this is not the reason for the failure, what is the reason.

(4)   Is it a fact, as reported, that there have been three other failures of the Geehi pipeline.

(5)   Has the explosion caused disturbance which the Snowy Mountains Authority is bound by agreement with the National Park Authority to restore; if so, can restoration work be carried out.

Mr Swartz (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for National Development) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   There has been no explosion and no damage to the extent of $13 million. However, one of a number of aqueduct lines in the Geehi River area of the Snowy Mountains is out of service through failure of several prestressed concrete pipes.

(2)   See answer to (1).

(3)   The reason for the failure of the pipe is not known. Independent investigations have not been able to identify the basic cause.

(4)   Yes. There have been five failures in the prestressed concrete pipeline of the aqueduct in question. These were reported in the Annual Reports of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority for the years ended 30th June, 1969, 1970 and 1971. Up until the most recent failure in September 1971, repairs had been effected to the damaged sections and the aqueduct placed back into service immediately. However, it now appears that the nature and cause of the failures are such as to make it likely that further failures will occur unless remedial measures are taken.

A number of alternative corrective measures are currently under consideration and preliminary work has already been put in hand. The total cost of remedial measures cannot be estimated at this stage. However, this cost will be very considerably less than the figure of $13 million quoted.

(5)   Whatever disturbance has been caused will be restored in accordance with any obligation or understanding with the National Park and Wildlife Service.

Foreign Investment

Mr McMahon - On 21st March last the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) asked me, without notice, a question concerning foreign investment and investment by insurance companies in office buildings in central business districts. 1 undertook to obtain further information for the honourable member. I am informed that there is no published data on the activities of insurance companies and overseas investors in the field of office construction. The information that is available, however, does not indicate that there is an excess of activity in the overall field of nonresidential building. Consequently, the Government sees no need to take action to reduce the amount of non-residential building.

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