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Wednesday, 9 March 1932

Dr EARLE PAGE (Cowper) . - I direct the attention of the Government to the alarming spread of tick among cattle in New South "Wales, and urge it to do something to prevent the infection of fresh areas. In the past six weeks tick infested cattle have been found 200 miles south of the point where for many years infestation was thought to stop. The Stock Department of New South Wales has made a close inspection of cattle-hides in the last week or two, and has discovered dead tick in hides which came from places many miles west and south of the areas previously thought to be infested. The danger is very much more extensive than it was thought to be even a few weeks ago. Thousands of cattle with blood that in the presence of tick would cause the spread of redwater fever have been moved in different districts, and this means that other cattle might with the spread of tick become infested with the disease, and may get redwater, with the resultant heavy mortality - a mortality which has varied in the past from 60 per cent, to 80 per cent, in some districts. If anything like this happens it will be a national calamity. I understand that the Stock Department of New South Wales has, after strenuous efforts, obtained £5,000 for the purpose of building new dips in those areas which have recently become infected. I urge the Government to endeavour to find another £5,000, in addition to the subsidy which it is at present paying towards the cost of eradicating the pest, so that a sufficient number of new dips may be immediately constructed to ensure that cattle moving from place to place shall be clean. If possible, the tick should be forced back to the Queensland border. " It was felt until a few months ago that the action which had been taken to prevent a spread of tick infestation had been successful, for there had been no southern extension of the plague for eight or ten years; but it is now certain that the plague is extending southwards at a rapid rate. The New South "Wales Government is doing good work in trying to prevent the spread of the pest, but on behalf of the rest of Australia it needs and deserves the assistance of the Commonwealth Government in dealing with this subject. The spread of tick will be a calamity to the Australian cattle industry, and I appeal to the Government to do everything possible to prevent any extension of the tick-infested area.

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