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Thursday, 20 September 1973
Page: 1313

Mr CALDER (NORTHERN TERRITORY) - I ask a question of the Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory. In view of the fact that a subsidy of nearly lc a gallon was paid to the petroleum companies for petrol freighted into Canberra under the States Grants (Petroleum Products) Act and as the subsidy will be discontinued if the amending Bill is passed by the Parliament, will he inform the House whether the lc will be borne by the people of the Australian Capital Territory or the petrol companies? As people in the Northern Territory are to pay up to 2c a gallon extra, what situation will pertain there?

Mr ENDERBY (Minister for the Northern Territory) - The decision in the Australian Capital Territory of course is one for the prices controller of the A.C.T., and as far as the Northern Territory is concerned, one for the prices controller in the Northern Territory. I have already had certain reports from the prices controller of the Northern Territory that relate to petrol prices in the Northern Territory, and they are the subject of further investigations by that prices controller. I think that with those investigations being undertaken there is nothing I can add at this stage in reply to the honourable member's question. But the whole question of price control in the Territories, whether it relates to petrol or any other goods, service or commodity, is one that shows just what can be done with price control when it is used in a selective way. There are a number of ways in which selective price control can be used. The honourable member would know of some cases in the Northern Territory. We have already reduced the price of one commodity sold in Katherine by 3c. But obviously it depends upon the investigation conducted by the price controller into a particular service or commodity.

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