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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3158

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, upon notice, on 27 October 1977:

(1)   Do revelations on the growing of marijuana in Australia indicate that plantations of this illegal crop in certain areas known to be suitable for its cultivation should have been capable of discovery by Federal and State authorities.

(2)   If so, has any State Government requested Federal financial assistance tor aerial inspection of likely areas, or for defence service planes or helicopters to be used for these inspections in the past

Mr Fife - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Responsibility for the detection of and the enforcement against illicit cultivation of cannabis rests with State governments. Whether areas known to be suitable for its cultivation are capable of discovery by enforcement authorities is a matter which I am sure will be fully explored by the National Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs.

(2)   I am not aware of any requests by State governments for financial assistance for aerial inspection of possible areas of illicit cultivation or for Defence aircraft to be used for this purpose. There have been joint operations by officers of my Department and State police forces where aircraft chartered with Federal funds and Defence aircraft have been used in aerial surveillance reconnaissance and surveys.

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