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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
20 October 1997
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has announced that Australia will push for a global whale sanctuary in order to secure a permanent international ban on commercial whaling.
Senator Hill has outlined the Government's response to the report of the National Task Force on Whaling as the international Whaling Commission sets to meet in Monaco.
In accepting the recommendations of the Task Force, the Government has signalled its intention to lead the world in efforts to turn the existing moratorium into a permanent international ban on commercial whaling.
Australia's long term strategy to achieve a permanent end to commercial whaling will involve the following initiatives:
"At the IWC meeting, Australia will be strongly opposing any moves to resume commercial whaling, whether in territorial waters, Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) or on the high seas. Australia will reject any proposed 'trade-off' which involves allowing commercial whaling in coastal waters."
"Ideally, Australia supports a global sanctuary covering all waters. Australia accepts the Task Force's recommendation that we pursue a sanctuary covering all EEZs and the high seas. In addition, Australia will encourage nations to ban commercial whaling in all waters under their jurisdiction including territorial waters, as Australia has done.
"I am proud to see Australia again at the forefront of efforts to protect these magnificent animals. We recognise that achieving a global whale sanctuary is part of a long-term strategy, but we are determined at every opportunity to push the case for permanent protection for all whales.
"Australia will continue to address the recovery of whales in its own backyard by continuing to promote activities which support the Southern Ocean sanctuary and its range of whale species which were so dramatically affected by whaling in the past."
Matt Brown on 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
October 20, 1997