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Wednesday, 26 November 1980
Page: 36

Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question, which is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, concerns the deteriorating relations between the New South Wales Government and his own. The fact that both of us are from the premier State motivates my directing it to him. It is a twotiered question. In the first instance I ask: What defence can the Minister offer for the pro.crastinatio: of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in denying New South Wales the acquisition of a Canadian aircraft that could be used for water bombing in the raging bushfires? The second part of the question concerns the Barnard-Daly declaration of 1975 that the Commonwealth-occupied harbour foreshore land would be expeditiously transferred to the State. In view of the transfer of the Abbotsford animal quarantine station to Wallgrove, why are we still fudging by using the North Head general quarantine station problem to delay implementation of a decision which was made in 1975 and which was reinforced by a former Minister in the person of Senator Withers?

Senator CARRICK - I am not aware of any procrastination regarding the use of aircraft for water bombing for fire control. My understanding - it may not be complete - is that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is still in the process of doing work on water bombing for fire control. Presumably that work is not yet complete. That may not be the total answer. It may well be that further matters remain to be answered. I will pass to the relevant Minister the substance of that part of the question.

The second part of the question may again impinge, I imagine, upon the portfolio of a colleague in another place - -the Minister for Administrative Services. My understanding is that the short term arrangement for the use of the quarantine station at North Head in no way will alter or extend the timetable for the return of North Head to the State. In other words, the timetable itself will go ahead. Within that timetable there will be some temporary use. Lest there be any further matters to add, I will also direct the question to that Minister.

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