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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 183

(Question No. 780)

Senator Kilgariff asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, upon notice, on 30 March 1984:

(1) Is it the Government's intention to include the Gimbat and Goodparla pastoral leases in any plans for the expansion of the Kakadu National Park; if so, can the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment advise on what rationale such an expansion is based.

(2) Can the Minister confirm, especially in light of the recent article of 6 March 1984 in the Bulletin, whether the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service has the resources to monitor and develop effectively an expanded national park of over 19,000 square kilometres.

(3) What level of expansion of the National Parks and Wildlife Service is contemplated to effectively control 'greater Kakadu', and is the Minister convinced that the Gimbat and Goodparla areas are of such intrinsic scenic and ecological value as to justify further expenditure of taxpayers money.

(4) Did a 1982 land use study find no evidence that the region had special value as a national park.

(5) Are the Gimbat and Goodparla leases a part of the mineral rich Alligator Rivers Region and have potential for further discoveries, and that the availability of the area for mineral exploration is arguably better land use than as a national park of little intrinsic value.

(6) What proposals does the Commonwealth favour and what action does it propose to take.

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes. Expansion of Kakadu National Park to include the Gimbat and Goodparla pastoral leases, which encompass a considerable part of the South Alligator River catchment, is important for the protection of the unique natural, cultural and recreational values of the Alligator Rivers region.

(2) An appropriate level of staffing to enable the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service to manage the enlarged Park will be sought in the normal Government process.

(3) See (1) and (2) above.

(4) I am unaware of the land use study referred to, and equally unaware of any study which purports to find no evidence that the region has a special value as a National Park.

(5) The greater part of the pastoral leases fall within the Alligator Rivers Region as defined in the Ranger Uranium Environment Inquiry. It is the judgment of the Government that the Region's intrinsic values are such that they should be protected by reservation as a national park.

(6) See (1) above.

Public notices of intent to prepare plans of management for the whole of Kakadu National Park were issued on 22 May 1984 and public comments are being sought.