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Friday, 12 June 1970

Mr Hayden asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that losses sustained on projects carried out by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Commission under section 19 (b) of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Act 1961, are do be covered by profit, if any, made by the commercial activities of the Commission except where an overall loss is made, in which case the Commonwealth covers the lesser loss between that sustained overall and that sustained on activities under section 19 (b) of the Act.

(2)   If so, has he given any consideration to the Department of Health becoming a client of the Commission in respect of all section 19 (b) production and research activities so as to ensure that undertakings accepted under this section are, in fact, covered on a commercial basis.

(3)   Would such a course be consistent with the general principles of operation of the Commission which the Government sought to implement under the Act.

Dr Forbes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   This matter has been under consideration by my Department in consultation with the Commission and Treasury. It is currently under consideration by the Government.

(3)   It has always been recognised by the Government that the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories have an important role to perform in the field of research associated with public health. The Laboratories make a significant contribution in this area. In my view, it is not unreasonable that such activity by the Laboratories be a first charge against profits earned by the Commission from its commercial operations. However, as indicated in the reply to (2) above, this matter is under review.

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