INTEREST is rapidly growing in Australia in the possibilities of producing liquid fuel by hydrogenation of coal. The compelling factors are the difficulties placed by foreign oil producing countries in the way of payment by Australia in primary products, con siderations of defence and the problem of unemploy ment in the coal mining areas. The Prime Minister has recently appointed a committee representative of the States, the Department of Defence, Synthetic Coal Oil Products Pty. Ltd., and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to report upon the present situation. An immediate question is whether black or brown coal should be taken as raw material and, after that, the terms of reference to the Com mittee include suitable location for a plant using 1,000 tons of coal per day; costs of production; amount of protection or subsidy or both necessary to maintain operations; and resulting employment, direct and indirect. Presumably Australia will be well advised to await the results of the large-scale operations of Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd., under weigh at Billingham; but the indications are that success in Britain will be followed rapidly by developments on one of the coal fields of the Commonwealth.