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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
4 April 2001
Queensland's continued failure to halt unregulated land clearing has led to Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill recognising the practice as threatening under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Senator Hill has accepted advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee in listing land clearing as a threatening process.
"It was the view of scientific advisers that indiscriminate land clearing has contributed to the extinction of species and that if not controlled will lead to additional species becoming endangered," he said.
"This recognition by the scientific committee of the serious environmental consequences of unregulated land clearing must prompt Premier Beattie into finally taking action to control the hundreds of thousands of hectares of native vegetation being cleared every year in Queensland."
"While the listing does not give the Commonwealth power to intervene, the proper response is for the Beattie Government to immediately cap uncontrolled land clearing in the same way governments have taken action in every other state."
"Mr Beattie is the only Premier refusing to accept responsibility to properly regulate the management of native vegetation. This failure to act is placing Australia's biodiversity and the future viability of farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin at risk."
Senator Hill again indicated that the Commonwealth was prepared to provide financial assistance if the Beattie government decided to act responsibly in relation to land clearing.
April 4, 2001
Contact: Belinda Huppatz 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364