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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1620

Mr HEWSON (McMillan) - I thank honourable members for the courtesy that they have extended to me. This is a most important subject. I have done considerable research into the matter. I was quoting from a newspaper report of a speech by Mr Madsen, the Managing Director of Mobil Oil Australia Ltd. The newspaper report of Mr Madsen's speech continues:

Let us decide now what we are going to require, where, when and how we are going to meet that requirement and who will pay the price. . . .

We are wrangling over who is going to own, transport or sell the oil. These are side issues. . . .

I could not agree more. The article continues:

It would be foolish to say that Australia has nothing to fear from the energy crisis.

It states further:

How wisely and productively we spend that time will determine whether or not we too will some day find ourselves caught in the energy crunch.

Self-sufficiency in crude oil is one of our great needs. Large sums of money have been and are being spent on oil search exploration. We do not seem to have reached the goal by any means. Perhaps the priorities are all wrong. Perhaps we should be spending some of the exploration subsidies in the direction of the development of oil from coal. By the millions of dollars that we are now spending, we are discovering unlimited quantities of natural gas but insufficient quantities of crude oil. If this pattern continues, we will never be self-sufficient in this resource. So, I put it to the Minister for Minerals and Energy (Mr Connor): What about getting your priorities right? Your exploration money would be well spent in establishing a liquid fuel plant. Might I request of the Minister that he set up this co-ordinating committee and co-operate with the States to ensure that Australia has the protection of sufficient oil.

I am concerned about the vulnerability of our fuel supplies. As I have previously pointed out, we have no land based fuel production of any sort. We import one-third of our requirements and two-thirds comes from off-shore wells. This is a most vulnerable supply; the Minister must surely agree. All that aside, I see merit in the opportunity to create employment for a growing Latrobe Valley work force. What about taking the opportunity to make decentralisation a reality? To paraphrase the slogan of the Australian Labor Party: It's time to make oil and fuels from brown coal.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Scholes - Is the motion seconded?

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