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

20 December 1999

BEATTIE REEF TAKEOVER CAUSE FOR CONCERN


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says he's concerned at reports that the Queensland Premier wants to play a greater role in management of the Great Barrier Reef.

"Premier Beattie's record on the Great Barrier Reef in recent times is nothing short of disgraceful," Senator Hill said.

"He's refused to implement a management plan to ensure the future sustainability of the region's trawl fishery and he's declined to support the extensions to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

"Premier Beattie has failed to ensure proper assessment of aquaculture proposals with the potential to damage world heritage values and he's stalled the development of coastal management plans for sensitive regions such as Cardwell/Hinchinbrook, causing uncertainty for the tourism industry.

"It's hard to believe Queensland wants to play a greater management role when Premier Beattie can't properly manage the tasks he's responsible for already."

Senator Hill called on Premier Beattie to make public the secret report he commissioned which purports to examine future management models for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

"I've yet to see a copy of the report or it's recommendations, but you don't need to be an expert to work out that Queensland's takeover ambitions easily exceed its financial commitment.

"This financial year the Commonwealth is contributing 74 percent of GBRMPA's budget ($21.2 million) compared to Queensland's contribution of just 15 percent (4.3 million).

"Clearly the first thing Premier Beattie will need to do if he wants to play a greater role is back his rhetoric with some cash," Senator Hill said.

Media contact:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill) (08) 8237 7920 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia