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Thursday, 29 November 1973
Page: 2275

Senator Dame NANCY BUTTFIELD - My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. I refer to the plague of locusts which is ravaging so much of the rural areas of Australia. Will the Minister tell the Senate what can be done and what has been done by the Government to check these plagues before the locusts get on the wing? Have locusts become immune to the sort of treatment that has been given in the past, and is there anything that individuals can do to prevent their crops and pastures from being ravaged at this stage?

Senator WRIEDT - I am not aware that locusts are actually ravaging the crops. I have not had a report on the position since my return from overseas, but prior to my leaving some 3 weeks ago the position was not as bad as it had been expected to be. As to steps that have been taken, the Australian Agricultural Council discussed this matter at its last meeting. The Australian Government has allocated $500,000 to assist in the eradication campaign and has also made available aircraft and facilities of the armed Services. The States are conducting their normal campaign, as they do every year, assisting farmers on the farm to eliminate the beds before the locusts actually form to take wing and fly away. I think that every reasonable step has been taken and I understand that the position is not as serious as was originally anticipated. Probably for the reason that the State governments and the Australian Government tackled the problem quickly, the menace has not proved as serious as it was expected to be.

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