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Tuesday, 20 November 1973
Page: 3533


Dr JENKINS (Scullin) - In the few remaining minutes I shall briefly refer to one particular aspect of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. I remind members of the Committee of paragraphs 64 to 67 inclusive of the report from the House of Representatives Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation of last year. In those paragraphs emphasis was placed on the relatively poor use of land use authorities both at Federal level and in the States. There is almost a complete absence of land use authorities in those areas though there is a growing need for their services. It was with some pleasure that I observed in recent months that CSIRO has effected a significant amount of re-orientation of its research program.

An example of the re-organisation of the research program can be found in the reorganisation of the land resources research activities. That re-orientation has the objective of meeting more effectively the increasing demand for information by those concerned with environmental matters and land use planning. Three divisions in CSIRO have been grouped together under the title of the Land Resources Laboratories. Surveys will be conducted and research on land resources and their potential uses will take place. In addition, management techniques aimed at optimising land utilisation will be developed. Research on all aspects of Australian soils will be carried out. A pilot study of land use in the Eurobodalla Shire in the South Coast region of New South Wales has been commenced by the Division of Land Research, in collaboration with New South Wales Government authorities. This study, which will take account of all aspects of land use requirements, is designed to provide information to those responsible for the making of decisions about land use. It is a project that takes account of the needs of the community as a whole rather than of individual industries. This sort of work will provide an example of land resources research. From time to time members of the public and conservation groups protest about proposals to mine, clear or otherwise alter important natural areas but the real conflict is that, with the demand for productive use of resources being now so widespread, it is affecting some of the last natural areas. When those areas are threatened with alteration the public places higher values on them.

I welcome the fact that the Land Resources Laborataries have been set up within CSIRO. This will have beneficial effects on land use in Australia. It is proposed to set up a biological survey of Australia under the direction of the Department of Science. The intention is to spend $750,000 on this project over a 3-year period. The small amount of $120,000 is available this year. There will be Commonwealth-State co-operation and the implementation of the proposal will plug up a hole that has existed for many years related to biological information, particularly about Australian fauna. This will be of benefit to the whole community and will improve our knowledge of our country.

Motion (by Mr Morrison) agreed to:

That the question be now put.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Progress reported.

Sitting suspended from 6.11 to 8 p.m.







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