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Friday, 5 December 1986
Page: 3574

(Question No. 1331)


Senator Collard asked the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, upon notice, on 20 August 1986:

(1) Has the Alan Fletcher Research Station in Queensland successfully concluded trials on a gall fly for the biological control of mist flower.

(2) Has the said gall fly successfully met Australian quarantine requirements.

(3) Has the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service requested further tests before the gall fly can be released; if so why.

(4) Can the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment ensure that any decision to release the gall fly is expedited and give an early indication of when he expects such a decision, recognising the rate at which mist flower is spreading, and that currently the only method of control is by chemicals such as ``Round Up'' and ``AF 302''.


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

(1) I understand that the Alan Fletcher Research Station in Queensland has concluded tests on the gall fly Procecidochares alani for the biological control of mist flower Ageratina riparia.

(2) The Australian Animal Health and Quarantine Service has advised that it has notified the Alan Fletcher Research Station that P. alani has met quarantine requirements and may be released from quarantine.

(3) No. The Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service (ANPWS) sought the advice of all State and Territory conservation agencies on the results obtained from the host-specificity tests conducted on P. alani. Both Queensland and New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Services informed ANPWS that they wished to see host-specificity tests conducted on a wider range of species before approval to release P. alani was given. ANPWS wrote to the Alan Fletcher Research Station advising of the concerns expressed by those agencies.

The Research Station advised ANPWS that some of the additional tests were not necessary but that it would conduct host-specificity tests on some of the species suggested. Results of these tests were received by ANPWS on the 12 September 1986.

(4) ANPWS has provided these results to the Queensland and New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Services and both Services have advised ANPWS that they have no objection to the release of P. alani in Australia. Based on this advice, ANPWS has written to the Alan Fletcher Research Station approving the release of P. alani.