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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5750

'ARRIVAL OF NATURAL GAS' CANBERRA

Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 18/02/1982

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 5750

FOR MEDIA THURSDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 1982
" ARRIVAL OF NATURAL GAS"
CANBERRA
I did not think I would be back in 19 months from having
turned the sod because I thought it would take a little
longer than that for the enormous amount of work that had to be
done to be completed. I am glad that it has gone forward so well,
so speedily and I must say that it is just as well that ~ t
has gone forward well, and speedily because natural gas might
be required this winter in the city of Canberra much more than
it would have been under other circumstances. Perhaps I could
say something about that in a moment.
Natural gas is a great success 9tory for Australia. It was
first discovered I think about 70 years ago, or a little more
in 1910 and in 1969 Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne had
access to natural gas and in the years since of course, there
has been very significant extensions into
country areas. In 1980 the demand was five times the demand
of 1971 and that obviously is as a result of greater access
to natural gas by more communities, but also as a result of
changed energy pricin gwhich in many ways has encouraged
greater use of natural gas.
I think in broad terms our energy policy is working and workingr
well. In 1981 there was a projected expenditure of $ 14 billion, in
1982 it is estimated to be double that at $ 2 billion exploration
and developmrent and that really is a record figure, in money
terms and In. real terms. It is
five or six times the amount of exploration of development
that was taking place in 1975 and that indicates I think, the
growth of confidence in this industry since those times.
The arrival of natural gas in Canberra is a significant development
for this city, and-Queanbeyan. It is not just going to
help housewives with their cooking and whatever, but it will
provide priv,; ate enterprise in Canberra with an opportunity
to attract greater numbers of industries to Canberra and to help
in the drive! in making the private sector less dependent than
it now is on governments, what governments do and what
governments spend. I know that is very much-the wish of / 2

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private enterprise in the ACT and I hope that natural gas,
being available will be a useful, significant help in that
regard. I There is going to be a significant fuel
oil saving as a result of this move of 30 million litres in
this year and nearly 70 million litres by 1987. Those figures
might prove to be conservative because I believe that natural
gas for the citizens of Canberra, the industries of Canberra
will have reliability of supply. That I think, is encouraging
and it is obviously very important. I don't know how many
of you are aware that the Minister, Michael Hodgman is going
to have to introduce legislation to give us powers for emergency
rationing through this winter because there is no reliability
of supply from NSW. It is an unusual fact that 20% of
Canberra's current supply comes from Victoria and if it wasn't
for the increased power output from my own State, the citizens
of Sydney would be feeling the present power situation in NSW
very seriously indeed.
I don't know how many of you know really what has happened
but there are four major generators in Lydell, the major
NSW supply station, and three of those generators have
gone out of action at one time. If it is a generator in a
motor car we just take it off and get it re-wound relatively
quickly, but for this operation 40 or 50 people have had to
come out from the United Kingdom, quite specifically to re-wind
these generators and I am sure it would their view that if
there had been proper maintenance that would not be necessary.
It is an odd thing in a country like Australia when, I hope
you won't mind me saying this because it is really a factual
situation rather than a political one, governments have to
advertise the immorality of having showers, trying to suggest
that people should only have a very brief shower.
If that fourth generator went, and there must be a great fear
in the NSW system that that would happen, the supply situation
in NSW would obviously be enormously and immediately serious.
In these circumstances, the rationing that has been
projected as a possibility for industry would probably become
a reality. These are matters that are obviously going to
take some time to overcome. It is not a question of installed
capacity, it is a question of being able to maintain the
capacity that has been installed and to get a reasonable
amount of power generation out of it. Because Canberra up
to this point has been so dependent on NSW, the arrival of
natural gas at this point is obviously welcomed and if
electricity fails I would imagine that we can guarantee that
natural gas will flow through the course/ this year and through
this winter. of question
I would like to congratulate you for bringing this/ to completion
so successfully and so quickly. It is timely and it is an
effective move and so I would like to thank everybody who
has been involved in it for bringing it to this point so
speedily and so efficiently. 000...

Transcript 5750