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Monday, 6 December 1993
Page: 3929

(Question No. 658)

Senator Coulter asked the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, upon notice, on 7 October 1993:

  (1) Did the Chairman of the National Registration Authority (NRA) present a paper at the 62nd Congress of the Australia and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS) entitled Committing Chemistry in a Public Place on 28 September 1993.

  (2) Was the Chairman previously head of the panel which conducted public hearings into the NRA's Inquiry into Continued Use of Organochlorine Insecticides for Termite Control.

  (3) Did the paper presented at the congress discuss the NRA Inquiry into organochlorine termiticides.

  (4) Did the Chairman discuss or put forward whilst delivering this paper such propositions as: (a) the introduction of a local government funded `termicare' levy system covering termite damage; (b) the shifting of decision making about permissible methods of termite control to local government authorities; (c) devolving some of the responsibility for the continued use of dangerous chemicals to the consumer; (d) relying on chemical industry self-regulation rather than legislated regulation to achieve desirable use of chemicals.

  (5) Were any of the above propositions discussed or adopted by the NRA Inquiry into Continued Use of Organochlorines Insecticides for Termite Control, the NRA Board, the National Health and Medical Research Council or Worksafe Australia; if so please provide details.

  (6) Was the Chairman of the NRA speaking privately or on behalf of the NRA at the ANZAAS Congress.

Senator Cook —The Minister for Primary Industries and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) Yes

  (2) Yes

  (3) I understand that Professor Selinger's paper did touch on some of the issues raised by the NRA's Inquiry into organochlorine use.

  (4) The content of Professor Selinger's is a matter of public record and a copy of the paper is obtainable through his office. As per question six, I do not believe it is the role of Government Ministers to confirm the content of a paper delivered in a private capacity to such a Congress.

  (5) I am not in a position to know if any of the organisations mentioned have discussed such matters as serious options for dealing with the issue of the continued use of organochlorine chemicals for termite control.

  (6) Professor Selinger was speaking in his capacity as Professor of Chemistry at the Australian National University.