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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

23 May 2001

New Commonwealth Protection for Marine Park


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the Senate today passed tough new protection for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The Senate today agreed to amendments to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 which will introduce a major increase in fines for polluters in the World Heritage area.

Senator Hill said the changes would enhance protection for the marine park from negligent navigation and oil spills.

"A maximum penalty of $1.1 million has been introduced for the offence of any vessel operating in the marine park in a manner that results in environmental damage," Senator Hill said.

Senator Hill said penalties for the discharge of oil or other hazardous substances will also increase to $1.1 million from $110,000 for a corporation.

The amendments also target pirate fishing on the Great Barrier Reef. Under the proposed amendments, illegal fishing will attract a maximum fine of $1.1 million.

"The Federal Government has already moved to increase patrolling in the Marine Park to give it greater protection," Senator Hill said.

"This provision further responds to a recent CSIRO report that revealed that 40-50 trawlers were fishing illegally in green zones in the Park.

"The Howard Government is serious about protecting the Reef and preventing pirate fishermen putting at risk the livelihood of honest fishers and their families.

"The Great Barrier Reef supports a thriving tourism industry and a fishing industry that rely on its health to generate wealth for regional Queensland."

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Contact: Belinda Huppatz 02 6277 7640 or 04190 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia