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Wednesday, 16 October 1974
Page: 1735

Senator MILLINER (QUEENSLAND) - Has the Minister for Agriculture seen reports in the Queensland Press that the Australian Government, while assisting financially in the control of the plague locust, has refused funds to fight the spur throated locust swarms now threatening crops in Queensland? What are the facts of the situation?

Senator WRIEDT -This matter was raised, I think by Senator Martin, some 2 or 3 months ago. I indicated at that time that the position which was taken by the Australian Agricultural Council last February was that the Australian plague locust constituted a national problem whereas the spur throated species, which is the main concern in Queensland, is largly confined to that State. It is customary in relation to matters which are of concern within a State's borders and where that State seeks assistance from the Australian Government, that the State concerned approach the Federal Government on a Premier to Prime Minister basis. No such request has come forward to the Prime Minister in relation to this current outbreak in Queensland. Until such time as a request does come forward, the Australian Government cannot be expected to initiate any moves to assist in that area. We have agreed, in conjunction with Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, to establish the Australian Plague Locust Commission. Those 4 States and the Australian Government will share the financial cost involved. Even though it is called the Australian Plague Locust Commission the door has not been closed to extending the activities of the Commission to cover such species as the spur throated locust, which undoubtedly does cause a problem in Queensland. But until such times as we receive a request from the Premier of Queensland, there is certainly no action which the Australian Government can be expected to take.

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