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Media Release
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

9 June 2006

Greens attack on former chief scientist over nuclear taskforce appointment ignores the facts

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Office of the Supervising Scientist has today defended the former Supervising Scientist Arthur Johnston against unfounded criticism of his record on environmental protection and nuclear energy advocacy

Mr Hunt was responding to comments by Greens Senator Christine Milne who yesterday criticised the environmental commitment of Dr Johnson after he was appointed to the Prime Minister's Taskforce to review uranium mining and nuclear energy.

"Arthur Johnston has an exemplary record of environmental protection.

"As the Supervising Scientist he was instrumental in ensuring that Kakadu National Park was not damaged by nearby uranium mining operations, in operation for nearly 25 years.

"This was a large part of Dr Johnston's work and he was a key player in a number of investigations that critically examined the mining company's environmental containment and his conclusions proved both impartial and professional and reflected a wholehearted commitment to environmental protection.

"Dr Johnston's scientific integrity was recognised in the 2003 Australia Day Honours when he received the Commonwealth Public Service Medal, largely due to his work protecting Kakadu National Park from the impact of uranium mining.

"It is disgraceful for Senator Milne to personally attack a scientist of Dr Johnston's calibre and her comments prove how low the Greens will stoop to discredit a man who has worked tirelessly for more than 20 years to protect Kakadu National Park.

"I urge Senator Milne to withdraw her comments against Dr Johnston and commend his appointment to the Prime Ministerial Taskforce as a man who is a pioneer of Australian environmental science."

Media Contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's office) 0415 740 722

Commonwealth of Australia