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Thursday, 9 December 1965

Mr BARNES (MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Territories) - I think the honorable member refers to a report in a publication known as the "Australian International News". I can assure him that there is no truth whatsoever in the report. The last indicated case of cholera in West Irian occurred in September 1962. That was satisfactorily coped with and in accordance with international sanitary regulations West Irian was declared free of cholera in March 1963. Since then there has been no further outbreak. The second part of the honorable member's question concerns something that is a matter of great concern to us - the proper policing of the border between West Irian and the Territory of Papua and New Guinea for health, quarantine and other reasons. We regard it as especially important to prevent both human and animal diseases from entering the Territory and we have provided an organisation to cope with, the situation should an outbreak of disease occur at any time. We carry large stocks of vaccine in the Territory. We have medical posts situated in strategic areas and a complete organisation is ready to go to work at any time should a disease come across the border.

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