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Senator Robert Hill, Minister for the Environment
John Moore, Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism
12 December 1996
The Minister for the Environment, Robert Hill, and the Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, John Moore, have ruled out any suggestion that an increase in the Environmental Management Charge for the Great Barrier Reef will be used as a "bed tax".
Senator Hill says the claim by Shadow Tourism Minister Stephen Martin is ridiculous and hypocritical.
"Stephen Martin was a member of the House of Representatives Committee which investigated the management of Australia's world heritage areas.
"That committee reported 'It supports the move in the 1996-97 Budget to increase the environmental management charge by $5'.
"Both Stephen Martin and Shadow Environment Minister Carmen Lawrence signed off on that report. Its findings were unanimous.
"While we can accept that Dr Lawrence has trouble recalling past events, we thought Mr Martin's memory would have been good enough to remember a report he signed off on just two months ago.
"Why are they now trying to pretend that they don't support the increase? Why are they trying to pretend that no-one remembers that it was the ALP which introduced the EMC in the first place?
"Why are they trying to pretend that no-one remembers that it was the ALP which set a $15 fee for Uluru and a $15 fee for Kakadu."
Mr Moore says the ALP has resorted to shameless scare tactics.
"The Government has accepted industry concerns about the implementation of the increase and will raise the EMC to $2 from January 1, 1997. A tourist visitor charge of $4 will then be introduced from January 1, 1998.
"The only people who will be liable for the increased charge are the people who were liable for the EMC under Labor. It will not be a de- facto bed tax.
"The Government has accepted responsibility for the collection and administration of the tourist visitor charge. We have invited further consultations with industry representatives to determine the most efficient and cooperative method to address these issues."
Media contacts: Matt Brown, Senator Hill's office, 06 277 7640; 0419 693 515
Cheryl Cartwright, Mr Moore's office, 06 277 7580