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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

20 May 2006

Minister condemns poisoning of National Heritage tree


The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has condemned reported acts of vandalism on the historic Tree of Knowledge in outback Queensland.

Senator Campbell said he was disappointed about reports the 150-year-old tree in Barcaldine, 1000km north-west of Brisbane, had been poisoned with chemicals.

The Tree of Knowledge was added to the National Heritage List on Australia Day this year. The 10-metre Ghost Gum is associated with the unsuccessful shearers’ strike of 1891 and is considered the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party.

“Regardless of your political beliefs, the Tree of Knowledge is a significant site in Australian political history and rural Queensland's development, and most Australians would condemn this act of vandalism.”

Senator Campbell said he hoped efforts to save the tree were successful.

He said officers from his department had started investigating the poisoning. Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, The maximum criminal penalty under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is seven years jail and/or a fine of $46,200.

“I sincerely hope the Tree of Knowledge will survive. However if it does not, its listing in the National Heritage List will remain, and it will continue to be an important place for all Australians,” Senator Campbell said.

Media contact:
Marianne McCabe 02 6277 7640

Commonwealth of Australia