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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2342

Senator MULVIHILL (New South Wales) - As Chairman of Estimates Committee F, I want to thank the Minister and his officers for the expeditious way in which the Committee was able to deal with all these departments. I think it is significant that the Committee finished half a day ahead of its scheduled time. There was a very good team spirit and, as a result of asking direct questions, the Committee elicited quite a lot of information. I took the liberty of sending to Mr Broomhill, the Minister for Conservation in South Australia, a copy of the text of replies given to questions asked in relation to Division 602- civil personnel, Off-Shire Wildlife Sanctuaries because, like a lot of other State Ministers, Mr Broomhill does have under his control off-shore islands which are sanctuaries. With all due respect to the drafting of this statement, which says that there will be consultation between the services and the Department of Agriculture, I should like to revise that to the extent of saying that I have written to Mr Broomhill and I will be writing to other State Ministers. Although the report refers to departments of agriculture, there are dedicated men like Mr Broomhill who are confronted with offshore vandalism by nomadic fishermen slaughtering fauna and if the Minister for Conservation in a State seeks the support of a service for a more frequent surveillance I hope that it will be forthcoming.

I should like to pay tribute to the witnesses from the Department of Defence because some of the answers the Committee received to searching questions about the ramifications of the Navy dockyards were particularly revealing. I do not suppose it is appropriate to name him, but there was a Mr Hill who seemed to be an encyclopaedia of information. The information the Committee received has appeared on the dockyard notice board and I think that is democracy if a vigilance committee can get information of that sort. I know I might warn the Department, but sometimes when information is received it can be the basis for other submissions. In this case it was a satisfactory outcome of the Committee's deliberations.

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