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Tuesday, 4 October 1983
Page: 1323

Question No. 531


Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 14 September:

(1) Is the Government considering representations to have Antarctica declared a world park exempt from mining.

(2) Will he consider the alternative that mineral and other polar resources be administered by an international trust of the kind proposed for control of the high seas and seabed resources, with any mineral royalties going to a world development fund.


Mr Hayden —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Government is aware of proposals to declare Antarctica a world park, but is not yet certain about the content and implications of the concept. The Government is committed to ensure the greatest practical protection for the Antarctic environment; and it will pursue this goal through measures drawn up directly under the Antarctic Treaty, as well as through the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the negotiations which are being conducted by the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties to draw up an environmentally acceptable minerals regime.

(2) The Government does not believe that an analogy can be drawn between the resources of the high seas and seabed beyond national jurisdiction on the one hand and Antarctica on the other. Antarctica, unlike the deep seabed or outer space, has been subject to man's activity and sovereignty claims for a considerable time and is now the object of successful international co-operation and management under the Antarctic Treaty.