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Wednesday, 19 April 1961

Mr HASLUCK (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Territories) - I am not personally aware of the statement in an article by Dr. Peters, but I am, of course, very well aware of the facts to which the honorable member has referred. If he had been paying close attention to the course of events in Papua and New Guinea, he would not have had to wait for that article to appear, because, in this House, I and other speakers on both sides have discussed with some care and concern this particular basic problem of health in the Territory. It is one of the major problems with which we deal in our administration of the Territory. It is a problem which existed long before we went there and. it is- one to which we have given a. top priority in our administration.

The honorable member asks what we are doing about the problem. The appointment which Dr. Peters himself held in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea was one directed to the control and eradication of malaria and the work that he did at Maprik was work in- a malaria control centre. It is quite true that malaria is a disease which is endemic over a large part of the Territory, and; I think I would be correct im saying that apart from the effect it has, itself, it breaks down the fortifications of health and provides an entrance for other diseases.

We are embarking very vigorously on the whole task of improving the health and the hygiene of the people. In that task - and particularly in the eradication of malaria - we work in the closest possible cooperation with the World Health Organization. Several of our leading officers, under scholarships and fellowships provided by the organization, have studied abroad, and as the result of their studies with the organization have introduced methods into the Territory to deal with this problem more effectively. We have also had the advantage of visits by experts of the World Health Organization, who have helped us in planning our campaign.

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