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Notice given 3 June 2010

*2833  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the investigation by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) of contamination at the Sunland Freshwater Fish Hatchery near Noosa:

(1) Why has the APVMA not taken any action on the veterinary reports provided as adverse event reports and the internationally published scientific data of aquatic toxicity caused by the nonylphenol and the alkylphenol group of detergents and wetting agents, given they were removed in 2006 from regulatory approval in the European Union, and have been implicated in causing some of the syndromes investigated in the Biosecurity Queensland Noosa fish health investigation.

(2) (a) What legislative grounds does the APVMA have to appoint the Noosa Fish Health Investigation Taskforce to undertake an investigation of reported adverse events involving chemicals used according to their label; and (b) if there are no legislative grounds, why has the APVMA failed to commence its own investigation given the availability of numerous veterinary reports flagging the likely involvement of agrichemicals in serious impacts of fish reproduction and survival.

(3) Why has the APVMA stated on its website that there is ‘no evidence’  of the involvement of chemicals in the Noosa fish health investigation when it has in its possession over 500 pages of veterinary reports with multiple lines of evidence which are strongly suggestive that chemicals are the necessary cause for all of the events observed (malformations and mortalities) at Sunland Freshwater Fish Hatchery, due to air blast spraying on the neighbouring macadamia farm and chemical pollution of the Noosa River.

*2834  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs—With reference to the seizure in May 2010, by US Customs and Border Protection of a consignment of seahorses shipped from Tasmania to the United States of America (US) for the aquarium trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) rules:

(1) Was the mistake in the paperwork a mistake of a customs officer; if so, what compensation is payable since the loss of the consignment was the fault of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

(2) Are the rules pertaining to CITES exports and imports uniform globally.

(3) If the same mistake had been made by a US customs officer, would the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service have seized the consignment on arrival in Australia.

(4) Are customs officers trained in the rules as they apply to consignments under CITES.