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Thursday, 2 November 1967

Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

1.   When did the Commonwealth make its offer to the States to provide the full capital cost of incinerators at ports?

2.   What were the dates and nature of their replies?

Dr Forbes (BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Health) - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

1.   The Prime Minister wrote to the Premiers of all States except Western Australia on 30th May 1966, setting out the details of the Commonwealth's offer to provide the full capital cost of installing incinerators at ports.

This offer was not made to the Premier of Western Australia because expert opinion in that State at that time was that there would be a greater risk involved in bringing ships' garbage ashore for incineration than in dumping at sea in the favourable off-shore currents which occur in the Western Australia area. However, the Minister for Agriculture, Western Australia, has since raised the possibility of his State being included in the Commonwealth's offer, in the light of recent expert opinion that has been received, that complete reliance should not be placed on ocean currents. This question is currently receiving consideration.

2.   The offer has been accepted by Tasmania (2nd June 1966), New South Wales (26th August 1966) and South Australia (2nd May 1967). Negotiations are continuing with Victoria and Queensland, the two States which have not yet accepted the offer.

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