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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 3976

Mr Bennett nnett asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Media, upon notice:

(1)   Has the Minister's attention been drawn to statements by newspaper sources that a world shortage of newsprint is current and is affecting their supplies.

(2)   If so, will the Minister investigate the position with a view to ensuring that the public is not affected by this shortage.

(3)   If the shortage is to be an increasing problem in the long term, will the Government give consideration to licensing newspapers, similar to the licensing of television and radio stations, with a view to conserving newsprint supplies.

Mr Morrison - The Minister for the Media has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Yes. Not only have I read articles on the subject, but I have had discussions with newspaper sources and representatives of the unions involved in the industry.

(2)   There is a world shortage of newsprint, and I understand supplies from Canada and the Scandinavian countries are seriously affected. However I understand the Australian Newsprint Mills in Tasmania are the principal suppliers to the Australian market. Newspaper proprietors and trade unions involved in the industry have expressed their concern to me about the shortage and the effect it could have on employment within the industry. Within the Australian Public Service the problem is already serious, and the Australian Government Publishing Service of my department recently distributed a circular to all departments asking for restraint in the consumption of paper.

(3)   It is my, understanding that the newspapers themselves have introduced constraints on their consumption of newsprint.

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