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Wednesday, 21 April 1971

Senator DAVIDSON - 1 ask the Minister representing the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he has noted details of a report of a speech delivered in Melbourne yesterday by Sir George Fisher of Mount Isa Mines Ltd in which he claimed that in many industrialised countries the matter of pollution had been neglected so that legislation now being introduced was restrictive and meant the closing down of many factories. Will the Minister ask his colleague, the VicePresident of the Executive Council, to implement an inquiry by the Office of the Environment regarding possible legislation so that severe restrictive measures do not have to be ultimately introduced into Australia?


I have not had the advantage of reading the report attributed to Sir George Fisher. I am quite certain that it would be a thoughtful contribution. I shall seek information in relation to it. I gather that the suggestion is that because of neglect in early periods of time there has to be, in the long term, some concentrations of effluent discharge which have done irrepairable damage. It has done damage to the industries concerned because of the restrictions subsequently placed upon them. I can understand that. The question was asked whether I could refer the matter to the Minister representing this new Department which has been created. Yes, I shall refer it. The question as to whether there should be an immediate inquiry or whether the matter should be distributed to some other area of inquiry is one which will have to be looked at. It may well be that the

Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment which we have set up could have this type of question included in its terms of reference. Perhaps it could look at this area gainfully whilst looking at some other issues.

Senator Murphy - I think this has been almost covered.


Yes, it has been almost covered.

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