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

5 April 2001

Government Boosts Protection for Marine Park

The Federal Government has moved to increase protection for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with the introduction of amendments in the Senate today to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the proposed changes would enhance protection from negligent navigation and the risk of an oil spill damaging the world heritage area.

"A new provision will be introduced which makes it an offence to operate a vessel in the Marine Park in a manner that results in environmental damage. A maximum penalty of $1.1 million will apply," Senator Hill said.

"Penalties for the discharge of oil or other hazardous substances will also increase to $1.1 million."

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

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.

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

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

"The amendments also protect the tourism industries and the fishing industries which rely on a healthy Great Barrier Reef to generate wealth for regional Queensland. "

Thursday, April 5, 2001

Contact: Belinda Huppatz 02 6277 7640 or 04190 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia