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Monday, 28 April 1980
Page: 1807

Senator WALTERS -Does the Minister for National Development and Energy agree with the statement made by spokesmen from the oil industry that the demand for petrol in Australia has slumped by as much as 6 per cent in the past few months, not only because of the increased use of four-cylinder cars which use less petrol but also because of the altered driving habits of large engine car owners since the price of petrol increased? Does the Minister agree with the view of the spokesmen that Australia now faces a glut of petrol?

Senator CARRICK - Consumption figures show that happily there has been a decline in the trend of gasolene use. There are a number of reasons for that, the predominant one put forward by the automotive industry being that there is a demand by consumers for more fuel-efficient and smaller cars. That has had an effect. Conservation has occurred also because of the scarcity price operating in the market place. It is the second cheapest of the Western-type countries. Nevertheless, it is a significant reminder to people of the need to conserve. I do not know that there will be a glut of gasolene. I could put up with that luxury, in present circumstances. The fact of the matter is that the four elements of our oil policy are working. We are conserving; we are switching to alternative fuels; we are exploring; and we are stimulating the development of synthetic fuels. On each of those scores we are pacesetters in the world. We are making sure that in the years ahead Australia will have oil.

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