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Monday, 28 April 1980
Page: 1811

Senator ELSTOB (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for National Development and Energy. It is likely that hydrocarbon plants will play a major role in providing fuel for the future. As South Australia has a suitable climate and semiarid lands which could be made productive with irrigation to grow such plants, I ask the Minister whether the Federal Government, in consultation with the States concerned, will consider the completion of the Chowilla Dam so that adequate water can be made available for a future vital industry.

Senator CARRICK - If there were a sound reason for any particular water conservation system in South Australia, that would come through the South Australian State Government to the Federal Government and be considered under our water resources program. I take it that Senator Elstob is referring to those agricultural products that can be used to produce, say, ethanol, which would be a fuel extender.

Senator Elstob - No, hydrocarbon plantsmainly straight hydrocarbon plants, such as milkweed plants.

Senator CARRICK - Well, any of those that may produce the hydrocarbons which would be extenders for fuel. Very considerable research is being done into those plants. The location for the growing of them is, of course, important and they will need water. But they will bear relationship also to whether there is sufficient fuel for their conversion and all sorts of other residual matters. I have not had expert advice whether South Australia would lend itself to such a prospect. However, I will seek information on that matter to see what the prospects are.

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