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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 845

(Question No. 1100)

Senator Sanders asked the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, upon notice, on 29 May 1986:

(1) How many inspectors have been appointed under section 21 of the Whale Protection Act.

(2) How many of these inspectors carry identity cards or proof of enforcement powers.

(3) What training, if any, is provided by the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service with particular reference to cetaceans.

(4) Which ports are manned, on what basis, so that the Act may be enforced.

(5) How many, if any, permits have been issued by the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, with respect to section 11 (1) (b) of that Act.

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

(1) No persons have been appointed as inspectors under section 21 of the Whale Protection Act 1980. The Commonwealth has proposed that State and Northern Territory officers who are authorised to perform duties under the Commonwealth's Fisheries Act 1952 and Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Act 1968 (the administrative and enforcement costs of which function are reimbursed by the Commonwealth) be also appointed to enforce the provisions of the Whale Protection Act. To date, however, the level of additional reimbursement sought for this function is not considered appropriate in relation to the degree of threat to cetaceans in Australian waters. The Commonwealth is continuing to seek a satisfactory agreement to ensure that enforcement arrangements consistent with the protection requirements of cetaceans are implemented.

(2) Identity cards have been printed and the intention is that each inspector appointed under section 21 of the Act would carry one of these cards.

(3) Australian Government policy on the protection of cetaceans and detailed explanations of the provisions of the Whale Protection Act feature prominently in the contributions made by Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service (ANPWS) officers to the regular training seminars conducted by the Royal Australian Navy for Executive Officers and Commanding Officers of patrol boats stationed in Australian waters. Participation of ANPWS officers in these seminars will continue and, following the appointment of inspectors, appropriate training schemes will be established. Meanwhile, draft guidelines for inspectors are being developed in liaison with the Australian Federal and Northern Territory Police Forces (whose officers are ex-officio inspectors) and with relevant Commonwealth and State Departments.

(4) Enforcement of the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982, under which the importation and exportation of cetaceans, or the products thereof, is controlled, is undertaken by Customs Officers at all major ports in Australia.

(5) No permits have been issued under section 11 (1) (b) of the Whales Protection Act.