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Tuesday, 11 February 1986
Page: 45

Senator BROWNHILL(4.17) —I would like to make some remarks on the Industries Assistance Commission report on the biological control of echium species, including Paterson's curse or Salvation Jane. I am glad that the report has recommended the biological control of echium, and of course Salvation Jane or Paterson's curse is a part of that family. This weed has created great problems for rural communities in New South Wales and many other parts of Australia. After each of the droughts we have had in the past there has been an increase in Paterson's curse caused by the deterioration of improved pastures. Of course Paterson's curse, or Salvation Jane, has caused great problems as a result of the death of stock as a result of kidney failure, and of course anyone who runs a property does not like to see his stock dying in this way. This weed has the name of Salvation Jane because, eaten by stock in small proportions, it has had a lifesaving effect on stock in the far west of New South Wales.

One of the reasons that the recommendations in the report were not introduced earlier is that apiarists would have some cause for complaint if Paterson's curse were eradicated because it plays quite a part in the production of honey. However, the report covers the worries of apiarists by saying that if biological control affects such groups it may be to an extent that it warrants adjustment assistance, although uncertainties still exist as to whether that would be effective. It is suggested that any assistance not be given until the effects of the biological control are fully investigated. This is something that members of the rural community will welcome as they are under threat at the moment from this centralised socialist Hawke Labor Government. They will welcome this report because it will help them to save some money. According to the report, something like $115m in current dollar terms will be saved over 15 years by the rural communities. The cost to the beekeeping industry will be some $8m in discounted terms over 15 years. I hope that this report will now mean the end of any opposition to the biological control of this weed because it has had a far reaching effect throughout rural communities for many years.