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Tuesday, 15 March 1966

Mr FAILES (LAWSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I address to the Minister representing the Minister for Works a question which is based on the striking success of rain making operations in the central west of New South Wales over the past week, which were carried out by the New South Wales Government and private enterprise and which were the outcome of years of research and experiments conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. I ask the Minister: Can the C.S.I.R.O. offer urgent assistance to the New South Wales Government by way of aircraft equipped for cloud seeding and operators trained in this skill so as, at least, to double present activities that are designed to produce rain in our parched inland? Is the C.S.I.R.O. short of finance to train more men in this field? If so, will the Minister arrange urgently for assistance to carry out this work?

Mr. FREETH__Naturally the Government was delighted to read of the success of the cloud seeding operations referred to by the honorable member. I understand that of the aircraft used in the operation one belonged to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the other was a private aircraft hired by the New South Wales Government. Basically it is the responsibility of the State Governments to undertake seeding of rain clouds in their areas. The function of the C.S.I.R.O. in this field is basically one of long term research. For a long time the State Governments have had full information from the C.S.I.R.O. as to the types of clouds suitable for seeding and the methods of fitting out aircraft with seeding apparatus. These facts were known to the New South Wales Government. Coupled with its normal programme of research the C.S.I.R.O. from time to time instructs the State Governments in latest developments. My colleague in another place has said that as far as he is aware the C.S.I.R.O. is not short of funds.

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