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Friday, 5 June 1970

Dr Everingham (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

Will he request the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Rainmaking Division to equip private airplanes in strategic centres with cloudseeding equipment to reduce costs of moving this equipment to drought centres when favourable conditions arise for seeding.

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has, over a period of years, carried out research which has led to the development of cloudseeding techniques. Sufficient information had been accumulated in CSIRO and overseas by 1966 for the Commonwealth Government to suggest to the governments in each State that they make arrangements in their own States for cloudseeding operations to assist in drought and bushfire emergencies. This would ensure that the operations could be carried out with most effectiveness by utilising the local knowledge of State officers. An assurance was given that CSIRO, while continuing with its research programmes, would assist the States with advice and equipment and would provide training for cloudseeding operators. This advice and assistance has been given by CSIRO so that the States should be in a position to accept responsibility for operations in their own regions. Equipping of private aircraft with cloudseeding equipment should therefore be a matter for each State government to decide upon. If technical difficulties arise which State officers are unableto handle, CSIRO can be approached by the particular State government for assistance.

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