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

14 December 1999


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said continuing attacks by Premier Beattie on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority would only bring the Queensland Government into further disrepute.

"The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia's crown jewels and its management is held in high regard throughout the world.

"Instead of being proud of that fact, Premier Beattie continues to attack GBRMPA and its staff in the mistaken belief there's some sort of political gain in bad mouthing the management of his state's biggest environmental attraction," Senator Hill said.

"I can assure Premier Beattie that he's only bringing his own government into further disrepute."

Senator Hill was responding to the latest criticism by Premier Beattie, suggesting research undertaken by GBRMPA was inadequate and misdirected.

"Some $78 million a year is currently being spent on Great Barrier Reef management and research, covering every manner of environmental concerns. This is regarded as one of the highest levels of monitoring of any World Heritage area in the world.

"The research shows that the greatest danger to the reef is from catchment issues, water quality and unsustainable trawling.

"All of these issues are the responsibility of the Queensland Government whose management record could hardly be described as world's best.

"It's not surprising therefore that Premier Beattie is suggesting that more research needs to be directed elsewhere.

"The Queensland Government contributes less than one fifth of the $78 million spent on Great Barrier Reef research. If Premier Beattie is serious about doing more then he could start by paying a fairer share," Senator Hill said.

Media contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia