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Thursday, 28 September 1972
Page: 1307

Senator WEBSTER - I direct my question to the Attorney-General and I refer to the transfer of ownership of oil and gas exploration permits under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act. Is it possible for the true ownership and control of an oil exploration permit area over the submerged lands surrounding Australia to be transferred without the Designated Authority being consulted?

Senator GREENWOOD - There are many, many aspects to that question. Firstly, the honourable senator asks what is essentially a legal question. He would know that without looking at the matter closely I should not give a legal opinion in response to a question without notice and that it would be imprudent for me to do so. Secondly, the administration of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act is the responsibility of the Minister for National Development. Possibly if the question were directed to Senator Cotton he would be able to give more information about this area of responsibility than 1 am able to give. Thirdly, I think that the Senate commis sioned a report from its Select Committee on Off-shore Petroleum Resources and I have some recollection that aspects of this problem were comprehended within the report which that Committee presented. I would commend the honourable senator to a study of that particular report. Beyond saying that, I do not think I can give any further answer to the question.

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