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Tuesday, 5 October 1971
Page: 1909

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

(1)   Is the same continental shelf adjacent to the territories of Papua and Queensland.

(2)   What and where is the greatest depth of the continental shelf or shelves between Papua and Queensland.

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

(1)   In certain places, for example, Torres Strait, Yes.'

(2)   From the Cape York axis the continental shelf extends westwards to embrace the whole of the Gulf of Carpentaria and most of the Arafura Sea; eastwards it extends to about 100 miles and then drops down into deeper waters to the south east. The Department of National Development is currently undertaking bathymetric and geophysical surveys of the seabed adjacent to Australia and when this work is completed, more accurate data than we have now will be available. However, in so far as the area of the continental shelf between the south coast of Papua and the tip of Cape York is concerned, present information is that the greatest depth is approximately 30 metres.

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