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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 1004

Senator DEVITT - Does the Minister for Health accept that there has been an increasing incidence in the number of cases of bends and other medical problems frequently leading to death which have resulted from the growing practice of deep underwater diving with the use of currently available equipment? I refer to diving for both commercial and pleasure purposes. Can anything be done to test this diving equipment? Is anything being done to test the suitability of the equipment which is readily available on the market to divers and also to test the knowledge, competence, and physical capacity of people who engage in sustained, deep underwater dives? Is it possible, in view of the increasing medical problem, to reduce by education or other acceptable means the, deaths and injuries currently resulting from this activity?


Insofar as the Department of Health is concerned, I would need to be briefed about the matter. When I was Minister for Supply certain studies of deep diving were being carried out in a defence laboratory or one of the other sections of the Department. I am relying on memory now: I will get a report from my own Department without delay and I will also seek some background information from the defence Complex. I have an idea that the Navy was involved in the problem. It is a very Interesting question which involves cases about which we sometimes hear. I am sure that we would all like to be, informed of the current situation.

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