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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
8 September 2004
Labor's plan to rezone the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park would seriously threaten the future protection of the Reef, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell said today.
The election of a Latham Labor Government would also plunge the multi-million dollar Reef tourism and fishing industries into uncertainty.
"Last month I wrote to Mark Latham seeking his assurance that Labor continues to support the rezoning and the comprehensive structural adjustment package the Howard Government has put in place to assist affected businesses," Senator Campbell said.
"This followed public statements made on behalf of the Labor Party by the Candidate for Hinkler seeking a senate inquiry into the re-zoning:
"I'm working hard to get a senate inquiry to look into the GBRMPA rezoning, to see if we can make it a bit fairer" she said.
"Mark Latham has not even bothered to reply.
"Either he doesn't care — a disaster for this environmental icon — or is trying to hide Labor's intention to re-open the zoning process — a disaster for our $4 billion tourism and $150 million fishing industries."
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef ecosystem and one of just a few World Heritage Areas that meet all four natural World Heritage criteria. Virtually all major and minor groups of living things are abundantly represented in the Reef. Only tropical rainforests come close to rivalling the reef for richness of species.
On 1 July this year, under the Howard Coalition Government's Representative Areas Programme, protection of the Reef increased sevenfold to make it the most protected marine park in the world and the greatest protected stretch of ocean on the planet.
"Where does Mark Latham stand? Australians deserve to know the future of their beloved Reef under Labor, and our tourism and fishing industries deserve to know their fate," Senator Campbell said.