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Wednesday, 7 November 1973
Page: 1635

Senator Rae asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science, upon notice:

Is it a fact that the Australian Academy of Science has made a recommendation for a national biological survey; if so, what steps are being taken to implement the recommendation.

Senator Murphy - The Minister for Science has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question.

The Australian Academy of Science has made representations over a number of years in support of the establishment of a biological survey of Australia. The House of Representatives Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation also recommended that such a survey be established.

On 22 August 1973, details were announced of the Government's decision to establish the Australian Biological Resources Study within which grants of up to $730,000 over the next three financial years will be made available to museums and herbaria. Australia stands alone among the developed nations in not having a comprehensive inventory of its flora and fauna. The last complete description of known Australian plants was carried out almost a century ago in 1 878. With more and more land being cleared or alienated in some way, it is most urgent and important to know the full range and diversity of animals and plants so that we can develop wisely national parks and manage forests. While much valuable work has already been done in the past by museums, herbaria, universities and CSIRO, there is an urgent need to up-grade the collection and description of Australian flora and fauna.

The study will be co-ordinated by an Interim Council and grants totalling up to $120,000 will be made available in this financial year.

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