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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2034

Senator YOUNG (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Has the Minister representing the Minister for Minerals and Energy seen a statement made by the Minister for Minerals and Energy that there is a shortfall of between 0.8 and 0.9 trillion feet of natural gas reserves in the Moomba-Gidgealpa field in South Australia to meet the requirements of Adelaide, Sydney and the proposed petrochemical industry at Redcliffs in South Australia? Is it also a fact that the Minister stated that a connecting pipeline between Gidgealpa and the Palm Valley field will be constructed with all expedition because of the Federal Government's estimated shortfall? On whose assessment is this estimate based? Have discussions taken place between the Minister or his Department and the Premier of South Australia on this matter? Does the Premier of South Australia agree with the Commonwealth Government's estimate? If not, why is the Government prepared to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers ' money now on a pipeline that may not be necessary for many years to come?

Senator CAVANAGH - I do not know what the Premier of South Australia agrees with or does not agree with. I cannot answer that part of the honourable senator's question. The national pipeline grid will be one of the most extensive suppliers of gas throughout Australia. The matter has been taken up with experts of the Department, and there has been consultation from time to time with various State Premiers and with Santos Ltd, which is the firm operating. I think the Minister for Minerals and Energy and the Department know all of Australia's requirements and know the capabilities of the various fields to supply. With a national pipeline link to all capital cities and towns of importance, a shortfall in one area of supply will not affect the supply to capital cities.

Senator YOUNG - May I ask a supplementary question, Mr President?

The PRESIDENT - Only on the basis that you claim that the Minister has not adequately answered the question.

Senator YOUNG -Yes. I ask the Minister again whether he can inform the Senate on whose estimates are the Government's calculations for the shortfall based?

Senator CAVANAGH - The Department's advisers '.

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