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Wednesday, 5 October 1983
Page: 1356


Mr MILTON —Is the Acting Minister for Home Affairs and Environment aware of reports that the Federal Government is backing off in dealing with the problem of soil erosion on Australian coasts? In particular, is the Minister aware of claims that the Federal Government is doing nothing about Gold Coast beach erosion? What moves has the Federal Government made to handle this problem? Does it contemplate further steps in dealing with this problem?


Mr BARRY JONES —My attention has been drawn to a Gold Coast newspaper report under the heading 'Federal Group Dodges Erosion of Coast Sand' which says, among other things:

The Federal Government's powerful environment committee has backed off tackling the Gold Coast beach erosion problem.

The report was based on the remarks of the Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation, the honourable member for La Trobe. It contains a photograph of him on the Gold Coast looking very thoughtfully at the Gold Coast's Eleventh Avenue groyne. The Press report also refers to the report presented in 1980 by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation on the management of the Australian coastal zone.

The matter was discussed at the Australian Environment Council's fifteenth meeting in Alice Springs on 6 July, when the Minister exchanged views with his State colleague. I can vouch for the Minister's very deep interest in groynes and other conservation measures. The Council's Standing Committee has established an ad hoc committee on coastal management to advise on the House of Representatives Committee report on the management of the Australian coastal zone. The Government is well aware of the problems such as those relating to Gold Coast beach erosion. Further steps in the development of our coastal management policies will be taken in consultation with the States-we cannot push them around-and in the light of the recommendations of the report of the House of Representatives Committee on the management of the Australian coastal zone. Furthermore, my colleague the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, in discussing the 1983-84 Budget at the Cultural Authorities Conference, emphasised the need to defer some projects in the light of the current economic situation brought on by honourable members opposite. He went on to identify coastal management as a project high on his list for consideration in 1984-85.