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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
7 September 2006
Queensland Senator Jan McLucas’ claim the Australian Government will scrap the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is scaremongering designed to divert attention from Labor’s policy to abolish the existing protected areas.
Labor is happy to scare the loyal, hard working staff of the GBRMPA whenever it can.
This is in spite of the fact that the Australian Government has reiterated regularly that our policy is to have a world class, well resourced Authority – based in Townsville.
The only threat to the reef is Labor’s policy announced by Mark Latham and never revoked: to review the boundaries of the reef.
Senator McLucas’ comments are a smokescreen to keep scrutiny off the ALP’s policy to tear up the new marine park boundaries.
I call on the ALP to make protection of the reef a non-political and bi-partisan issue and publicly revoke the policy to tear up the Park boundaries.
The Howard Government increased the protected areas of the reef from five to 33 per cent. Labor’s policy would throw communities up and down the coast into chaos and confusion.
Not only is this plan environmentally negligent, but if Labor were ever in a position to implement it, questions would have to be asked about the payments that have been made to hundreds of fishing operators in compensation for the loss of fishing area.
Will Labor be demanding those payments back?
Senator McLucas’ scaremongering about the reef authority is a base political ploy and is without foundation. The Howard Government has protected the Great Barrier Reef and supported fishing families and associated industries and will go on doing so.
Media contact: Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902