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Tuesday, 30 November 1965

Mr Whitlam m asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

What progress has been made since his answer to me on 20th October 1964 ("Hansard", page 2129) in securing Federal control of all uses of ionizing radiation?

Sir Robert Menzies - The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows -

Since my replyin 1964 the Government has again examined this question.

Two hues of action are being pursued at present by the Commonwealth with a view to having uniform legislation and administration in all essential aspects of radiation control adopted by the States and the Commonwealth. The two lines are (a) a continuance of the scheme whereby the National Health and Medical Research Council examines and makes recommendations to the Commonwealth end State Governments on the legislation needed to achieve adequate controls over the use of ionizing radiation; and (b) the offer of technical advice and assistance to the States by the Commonwealth through the Commonwealth X-ray and Radium Laboratory.

The various State Departments of Health have been contacted and informed of the Commonwealth's offer of technical assistance. All States have expressed their desire to avail themselves of this offer as the occasions arise and, in fact, two Stales, namely Victoria and Tasmania, have already done so. in addition, the National Radiation Advisory Committee has been invited to keep under review theeffect of ionizing radiation on thecommunity and to report periodically whether the situation requires additional action by the Commonwealth.

It is considered that the present arrangements for controlling ionizing radiation are operating effectively and that action by the Commonwealth to seek wider direct legislative control is not warranted at present.

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