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Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage
18 April 2001
Young, environmentally aware delegates from across Australia and the South Pacific have converged on the University of Wollongong for a week long forum to debate the important environmental issues of our region and the world.
Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, gave the welcoming address at the opening ceremony to mark the commencement of the inaugural Pacific Youth Caucus on the Environment - a four-day environmental conference that commenced at Wollongong yesterday.
The forum will provide a unique opportunity for delegates from Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, Kiribati, Nauru and many other South Pacific countries to discuss environmental issues affecting our unique South Pacific region.
"The Federal Government is committed to a range of youth orientated environmental programs, which have directly contributed to bringing delegates to Wollongong from all over the South Pacific, such as AusAid and the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program", Sharman Stone said.
" At the same time that this forum is taking place in Australia, South Pacific nations are meeting in Apia in Samoa to gain regional support for a South Pacific whale sanctuary".
" A statement of support from the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program for a whale sanctuary in the South Pacific is crucial to gaining the broader support of other nations for an end to whaling in our region at the International Whaling Commission's next meeting to be held in London in June".
Sharman Stone said that now, more than ever, the environment was at the forefront of the minds of all Australians - young and old.
"Recent surveys have shown that the environment is rated 'important' or 'very important' by more than 60% of Australians. Young people, like the delegates attending the Pacific Youth Caucus on the Environment, are helping to put the spotlight on the problems that 200 years of European settlement has had on our country".
"I will be taking the ideas and thoughts of the young people participating in Wollongong this week back to the Government in Canberra to help frame our response to an increasingly fragile environment".
"Through the Australian Youth Parliament for the Environment, the National Youth Roundtable, Kids Congress 2000 and the Millennium International Children's Conference on the Environment, the Federal Government is getting important feedback on the future direction of our environmental and natural resource policies", Sharman Stone said.
For further information please contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468
Wednesday 18th April 2000