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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2380

(Question No. 5216)

Mr Conquest asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 20 March 1987:

(1) Is he able to say whether an investigation into the illegal importation of aloe vera plants by Friendship Aloe Vera Pty Ltd in May 1984 is being or has been conducted by the Australian Customs Service because of an alleged breach of quarantine regulations; if so, what stage has the investigation reached and, if it has been completed, what was the outcome.

(2) How will confirmation that the importation was illegal affect growers of aloe vera in the Bundaberg area and areas north who purchased plants from the Company.

Mr Kerin —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Investigations by the Australian Customs Service are all but completed. On completion a brief of evidence will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution's for advice.

(2) The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service has completed a pest and disease evaluation of the plants at five properties in the Bundaberg region which are suggested to have received illegally imported plants.

The results of the evaluation were that no exotic pests and diseases were detected.

In view of the number of plants, the locations of the planting, the results of the survey and the difficulties in identifying illegally imported plants from those grown legally it is not feasible to take any action to recover the allegedly illegally imported plants.