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Transcript
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

Recherche Bay, Port Arthur
Tuesday, 5 July 2005

Doorstop at Hobart Domestic Airport


E&OE...

JOURNALIST:
What's the purpose of your visit to Recherche Bay?

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
Very simple, we just want to have a look at the area, look at the historic sites, look at as much of it as we can. I've got a National Heritage Listing proposal before me at the moment and having looked at it on paper, I decided I wanted to come down and have a look on the ground. I think it's by far the best way to assess these things and I also want to take the opportunity to look at the Port Arthur historical site, that's something that the Tasmanian Government and the Australian Government are looking to World Heritage List. I haven't had the pleasure of visiting there yet and wanted to take the opportunity to do so today.

JOURNALIST:
What's your understanding of the historical significance of Recherche Bay?

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
Clearly the D'Entrecasteaux arrivals there and coming back there, the establishment of the gardens, the observatory, the interaction with the Aboriginal people - is all incredibly important in Australia's history. We have some experience of that coming from the west because D'Entrecasteaux also visited near Esperance and we have a Recherche archipelago there, which is one of the biggest archipelagos on the globe. So the history's very important for Australia and clearly today I'll be having a look at the natural heritage aspects as well.

JOURNALIST:
This proposal has come forward from environment groups, why aren't they showing you Recherché Bay today?

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
Well it actually came forward from Professor Mulvaney, I think it was, and I've decided to go down and have a look at it. We've also informed some of the people who are keen on protecting the area that I was coming to town and we are meeting with them later on so we can have a face-to-face meeting.

JOURNALIST:
Should we take home that you are meeting with locals that are against the logging of the area?

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
Yes, I thought it would be a good opportunity. They have met with officers in my department and officers from my office and I thought since I was coming to town it would be a good chance to meet them face-to-face.

JOURNALIST:
Should we take this as a positive sign then of the Federal Government's support to heritage list the area?

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
Well look quite clearly from the paperwork I've seen it's very important, Australian heritage wise, but I want to look at it on the ground. I don't want to pre-judge my decision. I'm coming down here with the very best of intentions to have a good look on the ground, get a good feeling for it myself to inform my decision-making process. I think that's part of good environmental and good government decision-making is to be very well informed, and this visit is all about that.

JOURNALIST:
Are you touring the site with the Vernons?

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
I'm not sure whether he will be there. I haven't ...but certainly...

JOURNALIST:
...inaudible...

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
Well yeah one of the landowners will be there, yeah.

JOURNALIST:
...will take you across their land, is that right?

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
Well yes, the first thing we did when we decided to come here was to ask the Vernons if they minded if we came and visited their land and they said 'yes', they said 'yes, it'd be okay'.

JOURNALIST:
Yeah I know it seems minutiae, but the locals are very concerned that you're touring the land with the Vernons and that they're not getting the chance to show you what they want to show you.

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
Well we are looking at all of the sites, I am going down there with heritage experts from my department, from the Tasmanian Government, and it may seem like a minutiae, but the owners of the land, under Australian law, certainly should be consulted when you go on to their land I would have thought, it's a basic, fundamental courtesy.

JOURNALIST:
...inaudible...when can we expect a result?

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
I don't think it should take too long, it's sitting on my desk, and I literally make the decision last week since Parliament's in recess and I had a spare day that I'd come and have a look at it, so nothing magical about it, I just want to have a look on the ground.

JOURNALIST:
...so are we talking days, weeks, sorry?

SENATOR CAMPBELL:
Oh look it'll be in a very short time, it could be days, or as short as a couple of weeks, but I am told that one of the site protection groups are touring with us today, as well as the owners, as well as heritage experts, so it's a fairly…we're not trying to exclude anyone, we're here to listen to everyone and see it. There's no secret agenda here, it's wide open. Let's go and have a look, and make good decisions.

.../ENDS

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