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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
6 March 2003
Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today described a repeat bid by the Australian Democrats and the Labor Party to ban mineral exploration and mining to the edge of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the Great Barrier Reef as "a needless stunt".
The move, first mooted by the Democrats in March last year, and re-announced in January with Labor Party support, was the subject of debate in the Senate late today.
Dr Kemp said the Howard Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act had authority throughout the EEZ and provided unprecedented and total protection for the reef from exploration and mining.
"Exploration and mining is banned in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the EPBC Act ensures that no exploration activity can be undertaken outside the Park if it would pose a threat to the reef," Dr Kemp said.
"The move by Labor and the Democrats seeks to deal with a threat to the reef that simply does not exist. They have simply beaten up a threat, and now seek to prey upon the false concerns they drum up."
Dr Kemp said no government had done more to protect the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park environment than the Howard Government.
The Howard Government has:
Catherine Job 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400