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Transcript
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

Doorstop
Saturday, 27 February 2002

3.30pm

Subject: No Drilling on Great Barrier Reef


(Due to the poor quality of the tape, most questions could not be transcribed in full)

DR KEMP:
Some suggestions have been made that there is a danger of mining on the Great Barrier Reef, that oil companies are looking at the possibility of conducting exploration and drilling in mining on the Reef.

I don't know what secret plans any oil company may have but there'll be no drilling on the Reef, there'll be no drilling in the World Heritage Area and there'll be no drilling in areas outside the World Heritage Area which impact significantly on the Reef.

JOURNALIST:
(inaudible) ... claim that government knew about it?

DR KEMP:
There has been absolutely no permission given by the government to any mining companies to conduct exploration and drilling on the Reef. Legislation that sets up the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park absolutely prohibits the exploration for and mining of minerals on the Reef and that is the situation.

JOURNALIST:
Have you been aware of any search for oil in the World Heritage Area?

DR KEMP:
I am not aware of any search for oil within the World Heritage Area or in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

JOURNALIST:
Research material or research data material then passed on (inaudible)?

DR KEMP:
Well there is constantly research being done on the Reef. Because we need to know about the character of the Reef and the geologic structures that support the Reef so that we can better protect the World Heritage values of the Reef and that is the only research which is done.

JOURNALIST:
Senator Bartlett has called for tougher laws (inaudible)?

DR KEMP:
The Howard Government has put into place very powerful laws to protect the Reef and I have the capacity under the EPBC Act to take decisions to prevent any mining or drilling on the Reef that affects the World Heritage Area. Let me repeat: I don't know what secret plans any oil company may have but there will be no mining on the Reef; there will be no mining in the World Heritage Area around the Reef and there will be no mining outside the World Heritage Area that significantly impacts on the World Heritage values of the Reef.

JOURNALIST:
So you can categorically deny that the Federal Government has had any involvement in searches for oil on the Reef in the last few years.

DR KEMP:
Absolutely.

JOURNALIST:
(inaudible) … Townsville Trough?

DR KEMP:
The legislation requires the government to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement. There is no implication in the conducting of an EIS that any decision favourable to mining will take place. In fact, no legal decision can taken by me unless this process has been followed through. I repeat what I said before, there will be no permission given to any activity which impacts significantly, adversely on the World Heritage Areas of the Reef.

JOURNALIST:
Conducting this EIS is not a sign of things (inaudible)?

DR KEMP:
It is not. It is a legal requirement under the legislation and without that EIS, it's impossible for me under the legislation to take a decision.

Ends


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