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Wednesday, 6 May 1987
Page: 2390

Senator SANDERS —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment. Is the Minister aware of a New South Wales Department of Health confidential report produced in January-February 1987, which refers to a sample of dairy products taken on Lord Howe Island, which it describes as `indicating extremely poor quality in terms of chemical composition as well as bacteriological status'? Is it a fact that the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service is conducting a substantial poisoning program on the island in park areas adjacent to agricultural areas? What involvement have Federal agencies had in the poisoning program? How does the Minister supervise New South Wales Government activities on the island, which is of national interest through its world heritage listing? Finally, how will the Minister ensure that the poisoning program is having no negative impact on the native flora and fauna of the island or the human inhabitants and their domesticated animals?

Senator RYAN —The Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment has provided the following answer in response to Senator Sanders's question: It is true that the New South Wales Health Department has taken samples of dairy products on Lord Howe Island. It is also true that the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service is conducting a program of using herbicides and rat poison on Lord Howe Island. However, the poisons used are being applied in accord with the manufacturer's instructions and there has been no suggestion that the poisons have contaminated the dairy products. The Federal Government has had no involvement in this program, which is the responsibility of the New South Wales Government. The Commonwealth Government believes that questions related to land use and land management on Lord Howe Island are essentially ones for the appropriate New South Wales authorities. The Commonwealth Government is also mindful of the fact that Dr Jim Thorsell, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources adviser on world heritage matters, considered that the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service was one of the best five park services in the world.