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Wednesday, 17 May 1972
Page: 1717

Senator LAUCKE - I address a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate as the representative in this place of the Treasurer. Has his attention been drawn to the estimate put forward by Mr M. J. Story, of Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd, Melbourne, at the Clean Air Conference yesterday, that the cost of air pollution control required of Australian industry in order to conform to the various Australian clean air Acts over the 5-year period from 1971 to 1976 could be of the order of $ 1,000m? As these costs to industry are economically unproductive, in the main, will the Government give early consideration to increasing depreciation allowances on pollution control equipment to encourage and assist industry in meeting air pollution problems, as recommended by the Senate Select Committee on Air Pollution?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - I will refer the matter to the Treasurer. The cost factor is a very real problem. I appreciate that there was a reference to this matter in the report of one of our Senate select committees. I think all honourable senators recognise that the cost factor associated with air pollution control involves not only the Commonwealth Government but also the State governments. I would not like it to be thought that an argument relating to the projection of costs would in any way prejudice the concept of the stern and continuing efforts that must be made, particularly in regard to industrial pollution. We in Australia have, perhaps, a better opportunity than most other countries, because of the state of our growth, to come to grips with this problem. Many other countries are far more industrialised and developed and more heavily populated. I appreciate that what I have said is not inherent in the question asked by the honourable senator. He seeks mitigation, in some way, of the cost to industry of conforming to air pollution control laws, according to the extent to which industry is responsible. This opens up the question whether industry should face some special requirement as distinct from the overall pattern of the cost of air pollution control. This is a very wide question to which the Senate Committee gave a lot of attention. I will refer it to the Treasurer, as requested, and I hope we will get a reply before the end of the present series of sittings.

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