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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2896

(Question No. 1365)


Senator Coulter asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, upon notice, on 23 October 1991:

  (1) Is it the Minister's role to approve entry into Australia of shipments of imported pesticides; if so, does this include shipments of: (a) chlordane: (b) heptachlor; (c) aldrin; or (d) dieldrin.

  (2) For each of the chemicals listed in (1), what are the quantities the Minister has authorised for introduction into Australia during: (a) 1989; (b) 1990; and (c) 1 January 1991 to date.

  (3) Are further shipments of these chemicals into Australia expected for the period 1 October to 31 December 1991; if so, for each chemical, what is the quantity anticipated to be requested to enter Australia.

  (4) Is the Minister aware of the recommendations of Dr Geoffrey Duggin, Chairman of the Working Party on Cyclodiene Insecticide Use in Australia: (a) to ban the importation of aldrin, dieldrin, endrin and isobenzan from 1 January 1992; (b) to ban the sale and use of dieldrin, endrin and isobenzan from 1 January 1992; and (c) to ban the sale and use of aldrin from 1 January 1993.

  (5) In the lead-up period to the acceptance or otherwise of the Duggin recommendations, what influence will the Duggin recommendations have on the Minister's decisions to authorise imports of the chemicals into Australia; if none, why not (please specify).


Senator Cook —The Minister for Primary Industries and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) It is not the Minister's role to approve the entry into Australia of shipments of imported pesticides. However, as the insecticides chlordane, heptachlor, aldrin, dieldrin and endrin have been

declared to be prohibited imports under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations, specific approval for the import of these chemicals is required to be given by the Minister for each individual import consignment.

  (2) Import statistics are regarded as commercial in confidence and therefore for those chemicals currently in the market place ie chlordane and heptachlor, the Minister is not in a position to make details of import quantities available. Aldrin and dieldrin are no longer imported and therefore import quantities have no commercial value. The quantities imported since 1989 are as follows:

  1989—  Aldrin  177 tonnes

    Dieldrin  Nil

  1990—  Aldrin  88 tonnes

    Dieldrin  Nil

  1991 to date—  Aldrin  99 tonnes

    Dieldrin  Nil

  (3) Further shipments for chlordane and heptachlor are expected in the period 1 October to 31 December, 1991 but for reasons of commercial sensitivity these figures cannot be provided. No further imports of aldrin and dieldrin are expected as their manufacture has ceased world-wide. Dieldrin has not been imported since early 1987 and the last imports of aldrin were approved in August 1991.

  (4) and (5) The Minister is aware of the recommendations of the National Health and Medical Research Council's Working Party on Cyclodiene Insecticide Use in Australia.

  As aldrin and dieldrin are no longer manufactured, endrin is currently not used and isobenzan was removed from use in 1963, further action to specifically ban the sale and use of these chemicals would seem unnecessary.

  Although the Minister does not anticipate receiving import requests for aldrin, dieldrin, endrin and isobenzan he will ensure that the Duggin recommendations are complied with by not issuing further import permits.