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Notice given 18 May 2006

1798  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation—

(1) (a) To date, what funds have been paid to Tasmania as part of the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement (Supplementary Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement); and (b) for what purpose were those funds allocated.

(2) (a) Has the $2 million allocated for the measure ‘Introducing new silviculture for old growth harvesting’ been paid to Tasmania; (b) what were those funds spent on; (c) have any of those funds been spent on aggregated retention harvesting in state forests; and (d) have any of those funds been spent on forestry operations associated with coupe SX07A.

(3) (a) Which companies or individuals have been the recipients of money allocated for the measure ‘Support for the hardwood timber industry’; and (b) what were the specific projects.

(4) Which sawmills have been the recipients of the funds allocated under the measure ‘Support for country sawmills’.

(5) What has the allocation under the measure ‘Communications program’ been spent on.

(6) Is the Government considering a proposal to spend the $2.2 million for the ‘Communications program’ measure on an advertising campaign aimed at promoting the Tasmanian forestry industry as being environmentally-sound; if so, when is a decision expected.

(7) (a) What funds have been allocated to Tasmania as part of the Intensive Forest Management program; and (b) how much of that has been spent.

(8) (a) Are any of the funds referred to in paragraph (7)  intended to be used for converting native forests to plantations; and (b) have any of those funds already been used to convert native forests to plantations.

1799  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources—

(1) Is the Minister aware that in its 2004 report on nanotechnology the United Kingdom’s Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering raised serious concerns about the toxicity of nanoparticles and the risks they pose to human health and the environment.

(2) Is the Minister aware that the Royal Society recommended that given the serious risks associated with nanotoxicity and the inability to predict the toxicity of nanoparticles from the known properties of larger sized particles of the same substance, nanoparticles should be treated as new chemicals and be subject to new safety assessments prior to their inclusion in consumer products.

(3) Is the Minister aware that nearly 2 years after the release of the Royal Society’s report, Australian regulators including the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the National Industry Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme have yet to introduce new safety testing that recognises that the toxicity of nanoparticles cannot be predicted from the known properties of larger-sized particles of the same substance.

 

 (4) Is the Minister aware that despite the absence of requirements for new safety testing of nanoparticles, the TGA has stated that there are close to 400 sunscreen products alone that contain nanoparticle titanium dioxide and/or nanoparticle zinc oxide that are currently commercially available in Australia.

(5) Is the Minister aware that many other consumer products now contain nanoparticles, including cosmetics, paints, furniture varnishes and clothing.

(6) What action will the Minister take to ensure that new regulations are introduced to protect the health of workers and consumers, and the environment, from the risks associated with nanotoxicity.

(7) What action will the Minister take to ensure that the health of consumers is not further compromised through the release of products containing nanomaterials that have not been subject to adequate, if any, safety testing.

Senator Allison: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 1800-1801)—With reference to the report in a recent edition of the Canadian journal Paediatrics and Child Health that the commonly-used weed killer 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is ‘persuasively linked’ to cancer, neurological impairment and reproductive problems:

(1) Is it the case that pesticides with the same active ingredient are being used in Australia; if so, (a) at what level is the active ingredient known as 2,4-D and (b) is this use domestic or agricultural.

(2) Is it the case that pesticides with the same active ingredient have been subject to reconsideration by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority; if so, is a draft report available for public comment; and (b) have any public health warnings been given, if not, why not.

1800 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

1801 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry