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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 219


Senator McLUCAS (8:27 PM) —It is really important to understand the language here. You said that they had no interest in exploring or prospecting ‘in the Great Barrier Reef’. What you need to clarify is whether they mean the marine park area or whether they mean the area to the east of the marine park area that is equally important but is not covered by the marine park area. It is equally important. The reef there is in fact more pristine than some other areas, especially on the inner reefs. There are fish species and tourism out there that are highly important. It is further out than the marine park area but it is just as important environmentally. That is the area where the oil is, or could be. That is where they want to look. That is where they want to drop these seismic measuring instruments. When the oil industry says that they do not want to prospect or drill for oil in the Great Barrier Reef, they probably mean the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park area. They cannot do it; it is a prohibited activity in the marine park area. But it is not prohibited just less than 50 kilometres to the east. If the point that Senator Macdonald is making is that—


Senator Parry —He was correct.


Senator McLUCAS —I am not discounting it. I agree. If Senator Macdonald said that the oil industry is not interested in prospecting or drilling for oil anywhere in Australian waters east of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park area, then he can vote for this amendment because he has had advice now from the industry that they do not want to go there. So let us just move the region out to the EEZ and it is all over—there is nothing more to argue about. It is that simple.