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Tuesday, 19 March 1985
Page: 447

(Question No. 47)


Senator Puplick asked the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, upon notice, on 28 February 1985:

(1) Did the Report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Examiners studying science and technology matters in Australia specifically refer to the 'unique animals and plants' in Australia and call for 'efforts to study and preserve them' in part to help promote aspects of the tourist industry; if so, can the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment explain why the 1983-84 Annual Report of the Australian Biological Resources Study has reported that: 'inadequate funding of the Participatory Program has meant that many worthwhile, highly recommended projects could not be funded'.

(2) Will the Minister now take heed of the OECD Examiners' Report and recommendations and provide more funds for important research projects in the environmental sciences field.


Senator Ryan —The Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Examiners studying science and technology matters in Australia noted that 'Tourism is another sector where thorough understanding and coordination of science and environmental policies can bring benefits. Australia has unique plants and animals. Its efforts to study and preserve them, and then combine this with tourism are attracting international attention. It may well be an area where Australia can offer something to other countries, when scientific exchange agreements are discussed'.

In the 1983-84 Annual Report of the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) reference is made to the fact that many more high quality relevant applications for funding under the ABRS Participatory Program Grants Scheme are received than can be satisfied. This referred particularly to the Calendar year 1983. Funding for this program has been made on a Calendar year basis since 1982. The amounts awarded since 1982 are tabulated below:

Year of

award 1982 1983 1984 1985 Amount of

award $800,000 $750,000 $800,000 $880,400

Funding for 1984 was restored to that of 1982 and for 1985 was increased by 10 per cent on 1984 levels.

The Government also launched the Fauna of Australia program in 1983-84, which will be an important 10 volume publication documenting Australia's unique fauna. The Bureau of Flora and Fauna, in the Department of Arts, Heritage and Environment, maintains contact with similar organisations in Europe and North America, ensuring international scientific interchange.

(2) It is Government policy to survey and study Australia flora and fauna as a necessary prelude to conservation. Support for relevant and important research on flora and fauna will continue through the ABRS Participatory Program.