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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 4285

Mr KATTER (KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND) - In addressing my question to the Minister for Minerals and Energy I refer to his recent criticism of the Queensland

Government's permitting the acquisition by overseas interests of black coal deposits which the Minister believes are intended for hydrogenation purposes. I ask: What percentage of Australian equity would be regarded as an acceptable minimum in these circumstances? I also ask him whether he has any overall policy priorities in the development of Queensland coal deposits and whether he is restricting the exportation of coal from certain deposits in accordance with this policy. I ask him specifically whether he is disallowing certain black coal export contracts from Queensland of more than 9 months duration. If so, what are the criteria on which he bases the disallowance of such export contracts?

Mr CONNOR - There has been no disallowance of the type raised by the honourable member. There have been record exports of coal from Queensland and I have every reason to believe that they will continue. I will be very happy to support this provided that proper prices are being obtained. In point of fact, as a result of the introduction of export controls administered for this purpose, very substantial gains have been made that would not otherwise have been made.

Mr Anthony - Have you disallowed any?

Mr CONNOR - No. As to what would be an acceptable policy in terms of foreign equity, I point out by way of contrast the position in New South Wales where the Australian equity in the black coal industry is of the order of 85 per cent, compared with 20 per cent in Queensland. I think that is the answer to the question.

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