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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Hill Steps up Push For Whaling Ban

30 September 1996

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has established a National Task Force on Whaling to assist Australia's push for a permanent international ban on commercial whaling.

Senator Hill has announced the membership and terms of reference of the task force which will consolidate Australia's position as a world leader in whale conservation.

"The Fraser Government led the way in pushing for an international ban on commercial whaling. The Howard Government's policy is to seek to turn the current international moratorium into a permanent ban on all commercial whaling,

"We have already shown the strength of our commitment by taking a strong line at the recent annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Aberdeen.

"We believe the practice of killing whales is unjustifiable. It is time the international community stopped talking about a 'moratorium' on commercial whaling and instead adopted a permanent international ban on commercial whaling.

"We will continue to make every effort to gather international support for a permanent ban.

"The National Task Force, composed of eminent Australians with expertise in environmental policy and law, will keep Australia at the forefront of international efforts to end commercial whaling.

"The establishment of the Task Force also delivers on a key election commitment made in the Coalition's Saving Our Natural Heritage policy document."

The Task Force will be chaired by former Shadow Environment Minister, Mr Christopher Puplick.

Mr Puplick will be joined by Professor Alistair Gilmour, a marine scientist and Professor of Environmental Studies at Macquarie University, and Dr Gillian Triggs, Professor of International Law at the University of Melbourne. The non-government conservation sector will also be represented by Pamela Eiser from Project Jonah (Victoria), which has a long standing commitment to whale conservation.

Representatives from the Minister's office, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Federal Environment Department will also be on the Task Force.

The Task Force on Whaling has been asked to:

The Task Force has been requested to present a report to Senator Hill by 31 March 1997, so that its findings can be fully considered in developing Australia's negotiating position for the 1997 meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

Contact: Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 06 277 7640 or 0419 693 515
David Kay (Department) 06 250 0240

Commonwealth of Australia