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Wednesday, 12 December 1973
Page: 2695

Senator YOUNG (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Does the Minister representing the Minister for Supply recall my asking him a question last week on the dangers of fires from the current rocket firing program at Woomera rocket range in South Australia? Has the Minister seen reports that a large fire destroyed several square miles of stock feed in the area last Thursday as a result of rockets being fired in the area? Is it a fact that the fire was discovered late on Thursday afternoon? Can the Minister say what time a rocket launching was made on that day and whether investigations showed that the fire was started by a rocket? Will the Minister take urgent steps to arrange for discussions to take place between those concerned with the rocket firing program and pastoralists in the area to alleviate the potential fire risk which could, under certain circumstances, cause great damage and a loss of production over a large area this year?

Senator WRIEDT - It is true that Senator Young did raise this matter a week or so ago. I have endeavoured to obtain information as to the precautions being taken at Woomera. I did see the report to which the honourable senator has referred. It does in fact demonstrate the potential danger in the area, despite the precautions that are taken. I have endeavoured to get all the details available on this incident. I am not in possession of any detailed information at this stage. The fire does highlight the fact that there could be a very severe loss of pasture in the area. I will certainly be asking the Minister for Supply to ascertain in what way the precautions taken can be tightened up.

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