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Wednesday, 16 March 1932

Mr MARR (Parkes) (Minister for Health) .- by leave- The Government is gravely concerned at the reports which have been received from its officers tothe effect that cattle tick has been spreading southward and westward from the north coast districts of New South "Wales. This has happened in spite of the expenditure during the present year by the Tick Commission of £142,000, of which £44,000 has been provided by the Commonwealth Government, and in spite of the employment of more than 300 men in the work of tick control and eradication. This new danger from this pest has led the Government to reconsider the conditions of the contribution it proposed to make during the coming twelve months. In more normal circumstances it might reasonably have expected that the reduced cost level and lower awards in Australia would have enabled the work of tick control and eradication to be continued with equal efficiency, but with lower expenditure by the governments. This would have enabled some economy to have been effected during the coming twelve months to the relief of Commonwealth and State exchequers. The Commonwealth Government, however, views the renewed menace from the spread of tick so seriously that Cabinet has decided that a grant equal to that made during the present year shall be made available next year. This grant will be conditional upon a sufficient proportion of these funds being usedtoerectenoughnewdips before next summer along the southern fringe of, and within, the newly-infected areas, and sufficient staff being made available to supervise the necessary preventive measures, to hold back the further spread southward of the pest, and, if possible, to eradicate it from the areas recently invaded. In the past the Tick Commission has sometimes failed to receive that willing co-operation which might have been expected from the cattleowners in the infected districts. It is hoped that, both in the construction of the new dips and in observation with the object of discovering tick, cattleowners will give the commission the fullest assistance, so that the limited funds available may produce results equal to, if not better than, those obtained in previous years. The commission, which consists of representatives of the Commonwealth and the States of New South Wales and Queensland, will meet next week to consider this matter, and I hope to be able to make a further statement on the matter subsequently.

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