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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 422

Dr Klugman asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 16 April 1980:

(1)   Did he provide information to the Minister for Social Security in answer to a question by Senator Elstob (Senate Hansard, 12 September 1979, page 580 and 20 February 1980, page 159) concerning research into the carcinogenic effects of chemicals in industry.

(2)   Did this material state that information relating to the carcinogenic effects of chemicals is continually assessed at a national level by expert committees of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH & MRC) such as the Poisons Schedule Committee, the Pesticides and Agricultural Chemicals Committee, the Carcinogenic Substances Committee and the Occupational Health Committee and that the terms of reference for these committees are such as to embrace all toxicological aspects of chemicals that may come under scrutiny.

(3)   If so, are NH & MRC committees, particularly the Standing Committee on Carcinogenic Substances, expected to perform their functions as they would like under circumstances of curtailed funds which permit them to meet only twiceayear (Hansard, 19March 1980, page 984).

Mr MacKellar - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (l)and(2) Yes.

(3)   Arrangements have been made for an adequate program of meetings for these Committees in the immediate future.

This may not allow meetings to be held as often as members may wish but I expect Committees to set priorities and to perform their functions as efficiently as possible in view of the necessity for continued economic restraint.

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