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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4577

Mr Wallis asked the Minister for Supply the following question:

(1)   Have the staff and equipment at Woomera Village, required for maintaining town services such as rubbish disposal and drain cleaning, been drastically reduced since 1967.

(2)   If so, has this reduction caused a large accumulation of uncleared rubbish throughout the Woomera Village area, resulting in health hazards from flies.

(3)   Have there been any recent outbreaks of hepatitis in the Woomera Village.

(4)   If so, were investigations carried out by medical officers at Woomera as ' to the cause of the outbreaks.

(5)   If investigations were carried out, what were the findings and recommendations relating to the outbreaks.

Mr Garland - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The staff and equipment at Woomera Village required for maintaining town services such as rubbish disposal and drain cleaning has not been drastically reduced since 1967. In answer to a previous question related to this subject (Question on Notice, No. 887, Hansard 3 June 1970, Page 2903) it was indicated that there had been a decrease in staff, partly as a planned reduction and partly due to difficulty in recruiting labour. No further planned reductions have taken place since then but difficulty in recruitment has been experienced. When necessary, assistance to the Section concerned is provided from other sections of the Woomera work force.

(2)   No.

(3)   There have been 12 cases of hepatitis in Woomera since 1 July 1971, 6 in September and 6 in October. One of these was from a Commonwealth Railways camp at Wirraminna, some 40 miles away

(4)   Yes.

(5)   The report of the Senior Medical Officer did not establish the cause of the original infection but indicated that the subsequent spread of the disease was most probably due to close personal contact. All residents in the Woomera Village were advised to pay particular attention to personal hygiene.

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