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Tuesday, 28 September 1971
Page: 1605

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice:

What studies have been made of the long range costs and benefits to the Australian community of new metal industries allowing for the escalation of costs and depletion of natural resources, the effects on soil and ocean ecology, and the diseconomies of scale and greater war vulnerability in concentrating populations near existing cities or in scarce recreational areas.

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

The honourable member's question is a very complex and somewhat confused one. A number of the matters referred to are ones in which responsibility does not rest in any one area but touch on the interests and activities of the Commonwealth, the States and private industry.

The Commonwealth is concerned with watching the adequacy of resources and with ensuring that there is not an excessive rate of depletion in relation to Australia's future needs. On the question of costs, the matter of escalation is mainly ons for private industry and the concern of Governments is to ensure a reasonable return to the Australian people.

As to effects on ecology these are now matters which, at the Commonwealth level, are the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts. In relation to particular industries, these are matters within the responsibility of the respective State Governments. In this regard I would point out that in the last year or two, the States have become active in establishing appropriate machinery to deal with these matters within their own boundaries. I am confident that appropriate measures will be taken as required.

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