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Thursday, 13 February 2014
Page: 456

Senator BERNARDI (South Australia) (18:24): Firstly, I associate myself with the remarks of Senator Birmingham in acknowledging the outstanding service that this parliament has received from the Director of National Parks and I also welcome the new Director of National Parks. But I will comment specifically about the best way in which we, as a parliament, can respond to the urge to protect the diversity of our species and our national parks and get maximum use of them. That, as Senator Birmingham made reference to, is to ensure they have an economic value as well as an environmental value. In places like Christmas Island it means dealing with things that threaten the migration of the red crabs. It is a great tourist attraction and a unique spectacle unlike anything anywhere in the world. It is just extraordinary. But, where they are threatened by—and I will stand corrected—the yellow crazy ants that Senator Birmingham referred to, it is an important mandate to save the red crabs and to stop them being threatened, not just from an environmental perspective but from a commercial and economic perspective. By attaching an economic benefit to it, we are going to foster greater strength in our environmental movement and we are going to foster a greater regard and respect for our national parks service. That way, not only will there be a financial incentive for people to look after their national parks and treasure their national parks, there will also be a good case to be made for government to continue to invest in them—because of the economic benefits.

A lot of work has been done in our national parks by volunteer organisations and non-government organisations. Just the other day I was approached by a group of people who are interested in re-establishing a colony—I will use that term although I am not sure if it is entirely accurate—of quolls in the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. They were going to take an existing colony of quolls from Western Australia and relocate them to South Australia to re-establish the quoll community.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The time for consideration of government documents has now expired.