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Tuesday, 1 November 1983
Page: 2157

Question No. 516


Mr Connolly asked the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, upon notice, on 14 September 1983:

(1) When will the (a) Flora of Australia, (b) Australian Plant Name Index, (c) 'Zoological Catalogue of Australia' and (d) Australian Biogeographic Information System programs currently being conducted by the Australian Biological Resources Study be completed.

(2) What amount has (a) already been spent and (b) been allocated for 1983-84, on each of these programs.

(3) Are additional programs under consideration: if so, what are they.

(4) With which groups (a) will the Bureau of Flora and Fauna be participating with respect to the fauna of Australia project and (b) has the BFF been co- operating on these additional programs.

(5) will any of the costs be shared by the States.


Mr Cohen —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (a) The Flora of Australia, a 50 volume work, currently produced at the rate of approximately two volumes per year, will be completed by the 2010.

(b) The Australian Plant Name Index, will be completed and issued (in microfiche form) by 1986.

(c) The 'Zoological Catalogue of Australia' is a multi-volume publication. Volumes dealing with the vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and fish) will be complete by 1986. Volumes dealing with invertebrate animals will be published progressively from 1984, and the series is expected to be completed by the year 2000.

(d) The Australian Biogeographic Information System (ABIS), is a data-base system designed to incorporate information on the distribution of plant and animal species, from the specimen collections in museums and herbaria from all States and mainland Territories.

Data for all vertebrate animal collections held by Australian museums should be available through this system by 1990. Data entry on plant species is proceeding at a slower rate, but a new strategy to link data acquisition with the production of the Flora of Australia will accelerate this process. Data entry for the Australian flora is unlikely to be complete before the year 2000.

(2) These projects are elements in the three main programs of the Australian Biological Resources Study (Flora, Fauna and Biogeography). Expenditure on these programs can be divided into (a) grants and contracts to institutions in the States and Territories for gap-filling research work, and preparation of material for the publication projects, and (b) computing, preparation and publication costs. (Computing costs include machine acquisition, divided equally among the programs, and recurrent charges, mainly for CSIRONET). Not all of the expenditure under grants and contracts is for immediate use by the projects referred to in part (1) of this question. In many cases research projects are funded to clarify taxonomic and distributional problems, so that the publications will be as accurate and informative as possible. The expenditure is detailed in the following table:

Computing,

preparation

Grants and

and publication

contracts costs

Flora program (including Flora of Australia, Australian Plant Name Index)-

Expenditure to 30 June 1983 1,395,520 132,700 83-84 allocation 280,345 50, 000 Fauna program (including 'Zoological Cataloque of Australia')-

Expenditure to 30 June 1983 1,387,011 60,900 83-84 allocation 330,190 33,000 Biogeography program (including vegetation mapping and bioclimatology study)-

Expenditure to 30 June 1983 539,977 38,300 83-84 allocation 87,725 10,000 Australian Biogeographic Information System-

Expenditure to 30 June 1983 742,265 83-84 allocation 140,740 Note: ABIS computer expenditure cannot be separated from the Biogeography program's total expenditure

(3) Additional programs to those mentioned in part (1) of this question are not under consideration at this stage, but there are existing projects on (a) vegetation mapping, (b) correlation of environmental variables with the ABIS data, and (c) the preparation of distribution atlases for selected groups of flora and fauna.

(4) (a) It is expected the Bureau of Flora and Fauna will cooperate with all Australian museums, appropriate university departments and relevant divisions of CSIRO on the Fauna of Australia project.

(b) The Bureau of Flora and Fauna is cooperating with a number of state institutions and universities in the vegetation mapping and distribution atlas projects and with CSIRO on the environmental correlation of ABIS data project.

(5) As all major programs are undertaken largely by staff within state and territory institutions a substantial contribution to the ABRS is made by States and Territories.