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Friday, 9 August 1946

Mr.FRANCIS:Over a . period of years; by speeches and questions without notice in this House, and by corresponddence with Ministers,I have endeavoured to persuade the Government to take a practical interest in the prevention of the spread of the buffalo fly down the southern coast of Queensland. Honorable gentlemen opposite maylaugh,but this is pot a matter for hilarity. It is causing the graziers of southern Queensland and northern New. SouthWales a great deal of concern.I now ask the Minister in charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Researchwhether he will take steps to ensure that adequate supplies of DDT shall he, made available to producers through a government department or otherwise, and alsowhether, through the council, he will ensure provision of. a. suitable dip to deal simultaneously with the buffalo fly and cattle tick. Will he also take steps to provide that the whole or a part of the coat of the DDTwill be borne by the Government; in view of the fact that the fly entered Queensland from the Northern Territory ?

Mr.,DEDMAN.It is true that this subject has been raised from time to time by the honorable member. I believe that on one occasion ho moved the adjournment of, the House in order to discuss it. Thebuffalofly has been in Australia for a very long time. During the period that Governments supported by the honorable gentleman were in office, no steps were taken to deal with it. The Queensland Government, on which responsibility rests inthis matter, is doing everything it can do to retard the spread of the fly. The responsibility of the Council for Scientific and IndustrialResearch is to undertake: research into the problem) and this has been done onan extensive scale. The council has elaborated a method to deal with the buffalo fly on dairy farms and that method is now being extended to cattle stations: I hare visited the affected areas in Queensland on two occasions, and have made inspections of the station being conducted by the Councilfor Scientific and IndustrialResearch. I found that all the farmers were loud in their praises of the efforts of the council to deal with the pest. The honorable gentleman seems to consider that the council is a trading organization which should acquire supplies of DDT and make them available to farmers. That is not one of its functions. In fact, the Commonwealth Government has no power to produce or acquire DDT for sale to farmers. The honorable member may rest assured that this Government is taking all the necessary steps to make good the deficiencies of previous governments in the matter.







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