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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1836

Senator HARRADINE(12.01) —I thought that that may have been the response. We have one Minister saying one thing and another Minister saying another. I thought the Minister would refer to Articles 3, 4 and 5 (d). I have examined those Articles and can find nothing in them which would provide the power to the Parliament to do what clause 16 enables the Minister to do. Clause 16 imposes an obligation on people in Tasmania, for example, not to carry out any excavation works within the `protected area' except with the consent in writing of the Minister. This obligation is imposed on persons whether they act personally or through a servant or agent. Also prohibited is any other act prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph. Presumably, `prescribed' means prescribed in the usual way by the Minister through regulations.

The point that I am making is that in clause 16 there is established that area known as `the protected area'. In the definitions the `protected area' means the Lemonthyme area and the Southern Forests area, other than any part of either area that is an excluded area. The extraordinary part about this is that as yet these areas, in the view of the Commonwealth Government, are not part of our natural heritage. The Government is attempting to undertake what it sees as an obligation to identify areas of natural heritage. It set up a commission to do this but this area, in the sense that it is used in the international convention, is not part of our natural heritage. Therefore, the Government does not have the obligation and therefore does not have the power to protect this area. I really do not know how the Government can rely on the International Convention to impose what it is seeking to impose in clause 16, the clause this Committee is now discussing.