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Tuesday, 11 February 1986
Page: 46


Senator WATSON(4.27) —I support the recommendations of the Industries Assistance Commission in its report entitled `Biological Control of Echium Species'. The Industries Assistance Commission was commissioned to report on the biological effects of Paterson's curse being a target species under an Act recently passed by this Parliament. I support the recommendation that the species be a target species and should be managed by Government agencies supported by public funding. The Commission acknowledges that Paterson's curse can impinge on the natural environment through its presence in national parks and other conservation areas which are set aside in order to protect the native vegetation. I do not believe that point was adequately made in the debate on biological control. I commend the Commission for bringing the matter to our attention. The report also acknowledges that Paterson's curse impinges on soil erosion, with detrimental effects on both agricultural and public land. The native vegetation is also affected as a result of chemical spraying to control Paterson's curse.

Biological control is a very effective and cheap means of controlling agricultural problems in Australia. The vast scale of our agriculture, the limited numbers of people and the high costs of cultivation and imported sprays mean that biological control is a very effective means of reducing farm costs, eliminating pests and improving pasture species and animal nutrition. I commend the report to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.