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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1476

(Question No. 483)

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Science, upon notice, on 27 March 1985:

(1) Has the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation convened a working group to monitor the economic loss arising from mouse plagues; if so, who is represented on the group, how many meetings have been held and what is being investigated.

(2) If not, when will the resolution of the July 1984 Agricultural Council meeting be implemented.

Mr Duffy —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (a) Yes, at the request of the Standing Committee on Agriculture.

(b) The working group is comprised of officers from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australian Government departments, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, the Vertebrate Pests Committee of the Standing Committee on Agriculture, and the CSIRO Divisions of Mathematics and Statistics, and Wildlife and Rangelands Research.

(c) A meeting of the working party was held on 19 and 20 September 1984 to plan and co-ordinate methods of assessing losses that might occur during the anticipated plague.

(d) The working group is assessing economic loss and damage in the following agricultural industries; winter grain crops (wheat, barley etc); summer grain crops (rice, sorghum, sunflowers, etc); horticulture; vegetables and annual fruit cropping; intensive live-stocking (pigs, poultry and food lots). The working group is also assessing losses caused by damage to farm equipment and to personal and domestic items on farms. In addition the working group is assessing the estimated costs and benefits of a range of mouse control techniques and loss prevention activities instituted by government agencies and the private sector.

(e) The working group is to report to the next meeting of the Standing Committee on Agriculture to be held in mid-July 1985.