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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3917


Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/10/1975

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 3917

12 October 1975
The Prime Minister today announced the outcome
of a review, by the Resources Committee of Cabinet, of the
future development of the Australian coal industry.
The Prime Minister recalled that last year
Mr Connor had given an assurance to the Japanese steel
industry that Japanese needs of Austral~ ian coal would be
met. Further talks earlier this year with the steel mills
indicated their intention to purchase the maximum quantity
of coking coal from Australia, on condition that such coal
is competitive and of acceptable quality. The mills have
indicated the broad requirement of some 44-49 million tonnes
of Australian coal per annum by 1980. This represents
an additional 15-20 million tonnes per annum over the
current level of contracts from Australia. In addition,
the electric power industry in Japan has indicated a
requirement of 15 million tonnes per annum of steaming coal
by 1985, of which a substantial quantity is expected to be
purchased from Australia.
The Prime Minister said that if these additional
tonnages are to be available there is an obvious need for
some new coal development to take place. New projects which
are at present planned by various companies include Hail
Creek, Nebo, Norwich Park, Blair Athol, West Cliff, West
Ballanibi, and Bargo. He said that the Government's view
was that while it will continue to exercise an overall
supervision of the coal industry, particularly to avoid over-supply,
there would be a prima facie presumption that export
approval would be given to projects which obtain sales
contracts satisfactory to the Government, including its pricing
policy requirements. New projects will, of course, also
have to meet the Government's other policy objectives,
including the foreign investment guidelines announced by the
Primte Minister in his statement on 24 September.

The Government anticipates that sufficient
new projects will get underway in the near future to meet
the expected increased demand as it falls due. Hail Creek
has already been approved subject to foreign investment
conditions being satisfied. As a further step in that
direction, subject again to certain foreign investment
conditions and to exchange control conditions being met,
the Government is prepared to give the necessary export
approvals to enable the Nebo project in the Bowen Basin
of Queensland to proceed. And subject to satisfactory
contracts being obtained, the Government also stands
ready to approve such other projects as can meet the
Government's foreign investment policy objectives. It
would wish to see existing mines continue to play a viable
role in meeting the present export demand level. In this
context, the Government welcomes the assurance by the
Japanese steel industry that, in the event of a reduction
in their level of coking coal consumption, purchases
of Australian coking coals under contract would not be
reduced. It expects that in allocating purchasing contracts
the Japanese industry will pay due'regard to the needs for
a balanced and healthy development of the Australian coal
industry. CANBERRA, A. C. T. I

Transcript 3917