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Tuesday, 9 April 1957

Mr Swartz z asked the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, upon notice -

1.   What stage has been reached in the experiments in the control or eradication of lantana?

2.   Is it proposed to hold field trials in lantana areas in southern Queensland in the near future?

Mr Casey - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and the Queensland Department of Lands have been associated with the Hawaiian Board of Agriculture and Forestry in an attempt to find a suitable insect for the control of lantana. A large number of insects have been collected in Central America and these have been subjected to feeding tests while in quarantine in Hawaii. As a result of these tests, three insects which gave promising results were introduced into \ustralia for further tests here under quarantine. One of these species, Catabena esula has shown in further food tests conducted in Queensland by the Department of Lands, that it will not damage plants of economic importance and permission has recently been obtained from the Commonwealth Department of Health for its release in the field The other two insects are till being held in quarantine, and further food tests will be conducted on these when sufficient numbers are available.

2.   The field testing of Catabena esula will be carried out by the Queensland Department of Lands. Unfortunately a large number of larvae of this insect were destroyed by a bacterial disease last summer, and at the present time numbers are being built up to permit the first trial liberations to be made. Although satisfactory progress is being made it may be some time before sufficient insects are available to test their performance against lantana in the field. In the first instance it is probably that these liberations will be made in south Queensland.

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