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

Task Force Calls for Global Whale Sanctuary

12 September 1997

The National Task Force on Whaling says Australia should push for a global whale sanctuary to ensure there is a permanent international ban on commercial whaling.

The task force, chaired by Mr Chris Puplick, was established last year to provide advice to the Howard Government on how to achieve a permanent international ban.

Environment Minister Robert Hill has released the task force's public report and expects to announce the Government's response ahead of the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) next month.

The report's main recommendation is to establish a global whale sanctuary, in effect extending the Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean sanctuaries to cover all oceans.

Senator Hill has noted that the report's recommendations are consistent will the Government's policy.

"The Fraser Government played a prominent role in securing the current moratorium on commercial whaling.

"The time is right for Australia to again take the lead in efforts to turn this moratorium into a permanent international ban.

"No-one would disagree with the task force's finding that commercial whaling must be opposed on both environmental and ethical grounds.

"There is no humane way to kill whales and there is simply no need to harvest these beautiful and graceful animals.

Senator Hill has signalled Australia will again take a strong position against commercial whaling at the forthcoming meeting of the IWC.

"Both Japan and Norway have taken steps to encourage a resumption of whaling. The Howard Government is determined that Australia will lead the world in opposing any moves to resume commercial whaling."

The task force's report, A Universal Metaphor: Australia's Opposition to Commercial Whaling, can be obtained from Environment Australia on telephone 02-6250 0200. The 49th annual meeting of the IWC will be held in Monaco from 20 - 24 October.

Contact: Matt Brown, (Senator Hill) 02-6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
David Kay, (Environment Australia) 02-6250 0240

Commonwealth of Australia