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Tuesday, 24 February 1981
Page: 71

(Question No. 169)


Senator Colston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 2 December 1980 :

(1) Were the chemicals 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D tested at the Joint Tropical Research Unit in 1966.

(2) Were either of these chemicals tested at the Joint Tropical Research Unit in years other than 1966.

(3) What was the nature of any testing and what were the results of those tests.


Senator Durack —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (2) My Department has not found any record of the testing of herbicides 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D at the Joint Tropical Research Unit, Innisfail, in 1966 or at any other time.

(3) These chemicals were, however, used experimentally on Queensland Railway property at Red Lynch and Freshwater, ten miles north of Cairns, from October 1968 to may 1969. This work was part of a programme to determine the best herbicide formulations for the control of tropical vegetation, as required for clearance of foliage near the perimeter wire of the Australian Base at Nui Dat, South Vietnam.

Herbicides 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D were also tested on a small scale at Greytown in December 1971. 2,4-D was used on small experimental plots at the Defence Standards Laboratories (now Materials Research Laboratories), Maribyrnong on October 1969 and October 1971.

The results of these and other experiments are reported in a series of documents that are publicly available. A list of these is set out below. DSL Reports R344 and R351 specifically refer to the Red Lynch and Freshwater tests.

Defence Standards Laboratories-Herbicide Publications

1. R295. Defoliation of tropical rain-forest in the Innisfail area, Northern Australia, during 1966. G. A. Lugg. May 1967.

2. R344. A pre-emergent trial for the control of secondary vegetation in the wet tropics. G. A. Lugg. October 1969.

3. R351. The response of tropical species to the foliar and soil application of herbicides. G. A. Lugg. December 1969.

4. R392. The effect of foliar and soil acting herbicides on mature herbaceous vegetation in a temperate region. G. A. Lugg and R. T. Smith. August 1970.

5. R397. Herbicide spraying at the first Australian Task Force, Nui Dat, Vietnam. G. A. Lugg. August 1970.

6. TN69. Defoliation of undergrowth in rain-forest areas. G. A. Lugg. March 1964.

7. TN82. New defoliant systems. R. G. Gillis and G. A. Lugg. February 1966.

8. TN117. Experimental testing of post-emergent herbicides in South Vietnam. G. A. Lugg. June 1968.

9. TN150. Eradication of Nipa Palm. G. A. Lugg. March 1970.

10. TN187. The initial response of temperate and tropical vegetation to some non-selective herbicides. G. A. Lugg and R. T. Smith. May 1971.

11. TN220. Laboratory screening test of herbidices: Part 1: Pre- and post-emergent application of new materials on soft woods. G. A. Lugg and R. T. Smith. January 1971.

12. TN230. Comparative effects of Bromacil and Tandex in the wet tropics. G. A. Lugg, and R. T. Smith. January 1972.

13. TN231. The effects of experimental herbicides on temperate vegetation at the early post emergent stage. G. A. Lugg and R. T. Smith. January 1972.

14. TN234. A comparison of utra-low volume and conventional spraying equipment using 2,4-D. G. A. Lugg and S. M. Roberts. January 1972.

15. TN243. A comparison of the M12A decontaminating apparatus and the Allaey's piston pump for herbicide spraying. G. A. Lugg. May 1972.

16. TN250. Defoliant of some eucalypt species. G. A. Lugg and R. T. Smith. May 1972.

17. TN251. Split and single application effectiveness of some total growth control herbicides. G. A. Lugg and R. T. Smith. May 1972.