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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2036

Senator KANE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I direct my question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister.. I preface it by saying that it is clear that in spite of assurances given by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Minerals and Energy Middle East oil prices will seriously affect the supply and price of oil to Australia. Is it not a fact that had the Government not brought about the cessation of expansion of oil production and exploration Australia would be better placed to hold off the threat of serious reduction of our oil supplies from the Middle East? Is it not also a fact that Government interference has caused serious delays in the development of natural gas, particularly in relation to the delivery of South Australian natural gas to New South Wales? Would it not be true to say that if these delays had not been brought about industry in New South Wales would have been able to offset the threat of reduction in oil supplies from the Middle East?

Senator MURPHY - I cannot pretend to answer all the details that have been put to me by the honourable senator. Let it be clear that the Minister for Minerals and Energy took vigorous steps to see to it that the development of these resources would be undertaken in Australia's interest. It was common knowledge that endeavours were being made by great corporations outsideno doubt, with very great foresight on their part- to see that they got control of the development of Australia's natural gas and energy resources with a view to using those resources elsewhere. There is an energy crisis all around the world. They were, quite wisely from their point of view, trying to get control of Australia's resources. We now have a government and a Minister seeing to it that these resources are developed in the interests of the Australian people and used in their interests. In a time of world energy crisis that is exactly what the Australian people would expect of their Government and the Minister, and that is exactly what is happening.

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