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Thursday, 21 March 2002
Page: 1302


Senator BROWN (5:13 PM) —The very important amendment that the Greens will be putting to this legislation is to ensure that the ecological as well as the economic component of threat to the nation is taken into account. The Quarantine Amendment Bill 2002 is an important piece of legislation. Effectively, it is to bring into play national emergency measures where a primary industry is threatened by some form of pathogen coming from outside. One just has to think of the cane toad—which was deliberately brought to Australia and is now invading Kakadu and heading for Darwin— to see how important it is that we stop that process at the outset, or indeed the present huge crisis in Tasmania with, it appears, the deliberate introduction of foxes. We have to look beyond primary industry to our ecological systems, and the Greens amendments do that. They do not detract from this legislation; they add to it. They add an enormously important national component of responsibility by saying that, where an ecological community of national significance is threatened by some imported pest, we will take emergency action to stop it. Ultimately, that is good economic as well as good environmental sense and I recommend those amendments to all members of the chamber.