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Thursday, 15 May 1924

Mr ATKINSON - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follow : -

1.   Yes. Professor A. J. Ewart, an eminent botanist on the professorial staff of the Melbourne University, is to leave Melbourne next week for Central Australia to carry out a local investigation of the poisonous vegetation which is said to have been responsible for mortality amongst travelling stock. He will be met in Central Australia by the Chief

Veterinary Officer of the Northern Territory, and trial experiments will be made by driving a small mob of cattle through the infected area. The services of Professor Ewart have been secured for a period of three months for the purposes of these investigations. 2 and 3. Definite particulars have not yet been received as to the actual number of faith; lost on the stock route referred to.

4.   The number of cattle travelling this route varies from year to year, and is dependent entirely upon the arrangements made by the Northern Territory pastoralists for the marketing of their stock.

5.   Immediately advice was received of the mortality which occurred in September last year, the Melbourne University authorities were asked to make available the services of a botanist to conduct an investigation,but, owing to staff considerations, it has only now become possible to arrange for Professor Ewart to undertake the work. This gentleman had previously reported on Northern Territory plants.

6.   See answer to No. 5. 7 and S. Future action will necessarily bo dependent upon the nature of the report furnished by Professor Ewart upon the completion of his investigations, and amongst other matters, those mentioned by the honorable member will receive the most careful consideration.

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