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Tuesday, 7 October 2003
Page: 20759

Mr Kelvin Thomson asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 8 September 2003:

(1) Is he aware of the situation involving the reclamation of land at the Saemangeum mudflats in South Korea, which will impact upon the migratory habits and survival of a number of species of Australian and, in particular, Tasmanian, migratory waders.

(2) What action has he taken to protect the interests of these migratory waders, which include approximately 30 waterbirds of international significance and eight globally threatened species, in respect of the proposed development at the Saemangeum mudflats.

Dr Kemp (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes, I am aware of the Saemangeum reclamation project.

(2) Australian Embassy officials in the Republic of Korea have raised our concerns about the Saemangeum project directly with the Ministry of the Environment.

Diplomatic representations have been made at the highest levels regarding Australia's concerns relating to the impact of the reclamation works on migratory shorebirds and reiterating our two countries obligations under the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention).

In addition, the Australian Government is developing a bilateral migratory bird agreement with the Republic of Korea. This agreement will provide a mechanism for cooperation in the conservation of migratory birds and their habitat.