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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1522

Senator HEARN —I address my question to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. What protection exists to ensure the right of Australian citizens to clean air, water, land and food that is uncontaminated by pesticides? Secondly, what redress do people have against contamination by chemicals and pesticides from aerial spraying and drift?

Senator GARETH EVANS —The matters to which Senator Hearn referred are primarily, of course, the responsibility of the States and, good federalists that we are, there is no inclination on the part of the Commonwealth to trespass unduly in areas which are pre-eminently the proper responsibility of the States. Except in relation to the Australian Capital Territory, in respect of which I do not have the information immediately to hand, it is not a Commonwealth responsibility. Moreover, the matters that Senator Hearn raised are probably, on balance, more appropriately directed to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment. I will ensure that such of those rather broad ranging questions which the Commonwealth can reasonably answer are directed to the appropriate Minister.