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Monday, 1 December 2003
Page: 23303

Mr KATTER (2:54 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Health and Ageing. Is the minister aware of the declaration on motor vehicle emissions signed and presented on 5 November by Australia's most eminent health environment scientists Mr Murray Vincent, Dr Joe Baker, Dr Bill Wells, Professor Kearney, Professor Watson, Professor Batts and Professor Greenfield?

The SPEAKER —I remind the member for Kennedy of my earlier admonition about the use of names in a question. I am sure that the question could be framed without the use of names.

Mr KATTER —Mr Speaker, I will curtail that reference in deference to you. Is the minister aware that, at the presentation led by Professor Kearney of the University of Sydney, it was stated that more people would die from motor vehicle emissions in New South Wales this year than will die from motor vehicle accidents? Is the minister further aware that, in light of the scientific evidence and American research presented in the statement, it is clear that a large proportion of these deaths are preventable and that preventable action is being implemented by law in the USA and the EU?

The SPEAKER —The member for Kennedy will come to his question.

Mr KATTER —Finally, will the minister agree to meet with these scientists and carry out an objective assessment of the health implications of what the Americans call `volatile organic compounds' and `toxic emissions', and consider recommendations for overcoming a continuation of these unnecessary and preventable deaths?

Mr ABBOTT (Minister for Health and Ageing) —I thank the member for Kennedy for his question. I am aware that some research is taking place at Sydney University into the health impact of particulate emissions from petrol. I am happy to meet with the researchers in question. I understand that similar research is also being done by the CSIRO, and I can assure the member for Kennedy that this government has done its best to support the biofuels industry. Indeed, members opposite used to support the biofuels industry until they decided there was some cheap partisan political advantage in betraying it and the people they used to support.