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Wednesday, 2 November 1983
Page: 2195

Mr CONNOLLY —I direct my question to the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment. I hope that he was listening carefully to the answer just given by his colleague the Minister for Finance. The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment no doubt agrees that the Hawke Government has a clear responsibility to protect the South West Tasmanian world heritage area. If he accepts that, would he please tell the House what he has done to ensure that the Minister for Finance is representative of the Government when explaining why he has delayed the provision of interim funds requested by the Tasmanian Government on 13 October to cover possible search and rescue operations, fire protection, rangers and back-up support to protect the area during the summer? He will note that the Minister for Finance specifically said that no request had been made.

Mr COHEN —Not long after the High Court decision I visited Tasmania and spent some time with Mr Pearsall, the Minister for Tourism who is in charge of wildlife down there. Some weeks later I went there again with Mr John Brown, my colleague the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism, and officers of the Department. During those proceedings we had discussions with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife people and the Minister, and agreement was reached about the sorts of things needed to be done in Tasmania.

Mr Groom —Answer the question.

Mr COHEN —The honourable member should contain himself. The Opposition has asked a question and I will tell it the answer. For some six or seven weeks in that period we were unable to get financial agreement with the Premier, Mr Gray, and that is the reason that no payments were forthcoming. If honourable members opposite will contain themselves a little longer, later this afternoon there will be an announcement about funds for the rangers in Tasmania.