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Thursday, 11 October 1973
Page: 1930

Mr WHAN (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for Defence the following question: In view of the damage that could be caused by the threatened locust plague in New South Wales, could he give details of measures that have been taken to combat this plague?

Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) (Minister for Defence) - I think from memory that the Premier of New South Wales wrote to the Prime Minister on 21 September asking for assistance to combat the probability of a locust plague in a part of rural New South Wales. The Prime Minister referred the question to me and I asked the Army to investigate the possibility of participating in this campaign. Since then an Army unit has been placed on standby. In regard to the question of the costs involved, including the cost of flying time- (Honourable members interjecting)-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have issued my last warning. If there is further persistent interjecting I will take the appropriate action.

Mr BARNARD - The cost of flying time and accommodation is approximately $59,000. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer have now agreed that the full cost of this operation should be borne by the Australian Government. Yesterday I issued instructions to the Department of the Army to proceed with the project. I acknowledge the representations that have been made both by the honourable member for Eden-Monaro and the honourable member for Macarthur in relation to this matter. I am sure that the action taken by the Australian Government will be appreciated by all concerned.

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