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Friendly neighbours

Australia and Indonesia reaffirmed their close ties today. President Yudhoyono told Parliament the
way the two countries had worked together in the aftermath of the Bali bombing and the tsunami had
forged a strong friendship, but one that needs to be nurtured to build more trust.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: By any measure the speech by Indonesian president Yudhoyono to the
Australian Parliament today was remarkable - frank to the point of bluntness, the sort of speech
only a close friend could make.

President Yudhoyono - the first Indonesian president to address the joint sitting of Australia's
Parliament - singled out East Timor's bid for independence in 1999 as the low point of the
bilateral relationship, and noted periods of deep mistrust between the two countries.

But he said the way Indonesia and Australia had worked together after the Bali bombing and the
tsunami had forged a strong friendship, but one, he said, that needs to be nurtured to build more

The visit may have distracted the political parties here from the daily battle, but not for long;
no less than five of the Prime Minister's generals strode into Parliament's Blue Room to train
heavy artillery onto Tony Abbott and crucial bills that are held up in the Senate.

Political Editor Chris Uhlmann.

(Edgy music plays)

CHRIS UHLMANN, POLITICAL EDITOR: Five ministers came bearing one message.

JENNY MACKLIN, FAMILIES MINISTER: Today, Tony Abbott is threatening Australia's first paid parental
leave scheme.

NICOLA ROXON, HEALTH MINISTER: Yesterday, the private health insurance rebate - the last piece -
three pieces of legislation was rejected by the Senate.

SENATOR PENNY WONG, CLIMATE CHANGE MINISTER: And they have consistently used their numbers to
either delay or oppose action on Climate Change in the Senate.

SENATOR STEPHEN CONROY, COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER: The Opposition are now wilfully and deliberately
blocking measures designed to enhance competition and consumer protections in the
telecommunications sector.

LINDSAY TANNER, FINANCE MINISTER: Tony Abbott's vandalism in the Senate is a threat to Australia's
economic recovery.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Government is determined to brand Tony Abbott as a nay saying wrecker.

STEPHEN CONROY, COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER: Tony Abbott and the liberal party have delivered the most
obstructionist Senate in 30 years. Last year, Tony Abbott and the Liberal party, blocked 14 bills -
four times as many bills as any Senate in the last 30 years.

CHRIS UHLMANN: It should be noted that that figuring includes a package of nine climate change
bills rejected twice, but the recent rate of rejection is high by historic standards.

And by his own admission, the Coalition leader even frightens small children.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: Come on, come to the big scary man.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Now his decision to roughly sketch out a 26-week paid parental leave plan has put
pressure on Kevin Rudd to match it in the Senate.

The Government is proposing 18 weeks at the minimum wage.

SENATOR BOB BROWN, GREENS LEADER: We want to see the Government improve its legislation. We would
like to see the Government move up to 26 weeks parental leave.

SENATOR NICK XENOPHON, INDEPENDENT: I'd to think that the Government can do better but I don't
think we should abandon the Government's scheme.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But Kevin Rudd says that's the choice.

KEVIN RUDD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: If Mr Abbott blocks the Government's paid parental leave
scheme in the Senate, he'll be punishing young families just to make a political point.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Coalition has 37 votes in the Senate and 38 are needed to block Government
initiatives, so everything that's been knocked back so far has also been opposed by some
combination of the cross-benchers.

The Greens agree that the Opposition has been a problem but believe the Prime Minister hasn't taken
the Senate seriously.

BOB BROWNE: The Prime Minister's got a roll there to be working with the senate as well and from
where I sit, the Government itself's got to be a little less obstructionist.

CHRIS UHLMANN: It's a view shared by Independent Nick Xenophon.

NICK XENOPHON: The Prime Minister needs to choose whether he wants to legislate or to dictate.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And the Coalition is keen to remind Labor of its record.

SENATOR NICK MINCHIN, OPPOSITION ENERGY SPOKESMAN: We have not been nearly as obstructionist or
oppositionist as the Labor Party was during the Howard years.

They voted against everything at every opportunity.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Of course, in the final years of the Howard Government, it controlled both chambers
but all political memories are selective.

The domestic brawling was briefly suspended today as the Indonesian President was honoured by an
address to both houses of Parliament.

President Yudhoyono is only the sixth head of a foreign government to address a joint sitting. His
speech celebrated a friendship that began with Ben Chifley's support for Indonesia's independence

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO, INDONESIAN PRESIDENT: That was one of the finest hours of our relation
and we have had many more high points since.

CHRIS UHLMANN: He noted the highs but didn't shirk from raising past shadows.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: There were moments when we felt as if our worlds were just too far apart.
During the East Timor crisis in the late 1990s, our relation hit an all-time low.

CHRIS UHLMANN: He gently reminded his hosts that Indonesians wouldn't brook any more interventions.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: The success of peace and reconciliation in Aceh and Papua is not trivial
but a matter of national survival for us Indonesians. We would like Australia to understand and
appreciate that.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The president wants to lift the level of trade, see speed bumps ahead as closer ties
bring more complex problems and warns the close relationship between the governments isn't shared
by their peoples.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: The first challenge is to bring a change in each other's mindsets.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And on a day when the 21st asylum-seeker boat to be intercepted this year arrived
carrying 46 passengers, there were some welcome news for the Australian Government. The president
confirmed that he would make people smuggling a crime.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Those found guilty will be sent to prison for up to five years.


CHRIS UHLMANN: The two leaders signed an agreement on people smuggling. The details are secret but
it will mean even closer ties between police and more intelligence-sharing.

In addition, there'll be annual meetings between the countries' leaders and the Foreign Affairs and
Defence Ministers.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: I am sure that this new arrangement will further cement
Indonesia-Australia relations and enhance trust between us.

CHRIS UHLMANN: In their private talks, the Prime Minister said he would support any call by the
Bali Nine for clemency from the death penalty. He also raised the killing of five journalists in
Balibo in 1975 and a prisoner transfer agreement that would benefit Chapelle Corby.

KEVIN RUDD: Mr President, we are neighbours by circumstance but we are friends because we have
chosen to be friends.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Tony Abbott couldn't resist taking a few swipes at Kevin Rudd.

Tony Abbott: People smuggling has started again and we can stop it again provided it's done
cooperatively and with a clear understanding of our mutual interests and with the right policies in
place here in Australia.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And Indonesia's Foreign Minister took aim at Tony Abbott's pledge to turn back
asylum-seeker boats.

MARTY NATALEGAWA, INDONESIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Going to this kind of approach of simply pushing
back the boats where they have come from would be a backwards step. It would not be a useful step.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But the last words should go to the president, who imagined what a future observer
might say of the relationship.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: And they will say, "These two used to be worlds apart but they now have a
Fair Dinkums partnership".

(Loud applause)

KERRY O'BRIEN: Political Editor Chris Uhlmann.

Lindsay Tanner joins The 7.30 Report

Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner speaks with Kerry O'Brien live from Canberra.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: And we'll now track back to the first part of Chris's story which related
to claims of Senate obstruction.

As Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner is the budget number cruncher for the Government and he joins
me now from Canberra.

Lindsay Tanner, you and other Ministers have launched a broadside on the Opposition for obstruction
in the Senate over a number of policy areas. But it isn't just the Liberals and the Nationals
you're failing to win over, is it? It's five Greens and two Independent senators.

Doesn't the Government have to take some responsibility for the failure to win their support for
your policies as well?

LINDSAY TANNER, FEDERAL FINANCE MINISTER: Kerry, the Greens and the Independents are never going to
be the government. Tony Abbott is presenting as an alternative government, but Tony Abbott is a
fiscal arsonist who is pretending he is the fire brigade.

He's knocked over $3 billion worth of government savings out of the budget by misusing his power in
the Senate at the same time as attacking the Government for not getting the budget back into
surplus quick enough. Just today, another one was announced - another $50 million of a
pharmaceutical benefits scheme saving he's announced he is going to block.

So ultimately it's the Liberal Party that have got the responsibility. Yes, we deal with other
senators. We seek to get agreement with them but none of them have the responsibility that the
Government and the alternative government have to make the numbers add up across the board and
that's what Mr Abbott is not doing.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But the reality is - the reality is - that you can use those other numbers in the
Senate to support the Government numbers in the Senate to get your bills across. And the Labor
Party in Opposition was no stranger to obstructing government bills. So isn't it really your job,
isn't it the reality that you can't say this is all Tony Abbott's fault? You were rebuffed by the
other senators too.

LINDSAY TANNER: We obviously talk to the other senators whenever we can about the issues.
Individual Ministers negotiate with them. We make concessions.

For example, on the stimulus package we had to make concessions to get that through, even though
Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party and Malcolm Turnbull at that point, the leader, opposed the
Government's stimulus measures to protect Australia's economy. But ultimately none of their votes
count if the Liberal Party is voting with the Government.

The only way that matters can be blocked in the Senate is if the Opposition blocks them and we
accept the Senate's got a review role but there is an overall picture here about responsibility for
managing Australia's economy, for getting our budget back into surplus, that they have a
responsibility to deal with as well, that the Independent senators don't have a responsibility to
deal with. And what we are saying, Kerry, is that Mr Abbott is simply adopting an obstructionist
role, tearing holes in the Government's budget at the same time as criticising us for not being
strong enough on the fiscal front.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But you can't get away from the fact that the Greens and the two Independent
senators are supporting him. So it's not just Tony Abbott being obstructionist. You've got seven
other senators who are, on a number of these important issues, agreeing with him. You've

LINDSAY TANNER: The problem is that we only have to lose one of their votes and they are not a
homogenous group by any means, Kerry. You've got different people who are - have very different
views there. It is pretty difficult to get both the Greens and Senator Fielding agreeing on
something, for example, so, yes, we talk to them. Yes, we try and get their support, but that is
very hard, but it only matters because the Liberal Party keeps blocking things - keeps blocking
important budget savings that are designed to protect Australia's economy and get the budget back
into surplus.

KERRY O'BRIEN: You've described this Senate as the most obstructionist for 30 years. If it really
is that obstructionist, if so many key policies are put in jeopardy that you would say are going to
affect Australia's future, then surely it's the Government's responsibility - not just an option
but the Government's responsibility - to call a double dissolution election.

LINDSAY TANNER: Well, no it's-that's not necessarily the case, Kerry. If we did that every time
there was a problem in the Senate we'd be having elections once a fortnight.

KERRY O'BRIEN: No-no, but this isn't just a problem in the Senate. You're saying this is the most
obstructionist Senate in 30 years.

LINDSAY TANNER: We have got a responsibility to govern and Kevin Rudd's indicated we will continue
to govern and our objective is to serve our full term and to be judged by that. And there'll be a
new Senate elected at the election that's due towards the end of this year and we hope it will be a
less obstructionist Senate but we want to focus on Mr Abbott as an alternative Prime Minister.

He seems to think that he's auditioning for a role in Survivor. He's out there on quad bike, he's
in the Speedos, he's on the surf board, he's in the swimming pool. Well, actually, he's auditioning
for a role as Prime Minister and that is about managing our economy and our national security, not
about hairy chests and big biceps. And that is the test he is failing; the test of responsibility
to the Australian people.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, you've complained now about another bill that's, uh, that they're objecting to
that might cost $50 million. How much is it going to cost to remove foil insulation from 50,000
homes as a safety measure announced today by Greg Combet, the new Minister for what has been a
failed program? And how much wasted money has there been on that program altogether?

LINDSAY TANNER: Kerry, it's well documented that there have been problems with that program and
we've moved to fix up those problems and we accept that, we accept responsibility for that. It was
part of the stimulus strategy that was designed to protect jobs and hundreds of thousands of
Australians have jobs now that otherwise wouldn't have had them because of that stimulus strategy.

Now we accept there have been problems and we are acting to address those problems. And we will
take a hit politically as a result of that. That is the way democracy works but you've got to look
at the wider picture here and that is that we are trying to govern in the interests of the
Australian people and trying to insure that we get the budget back to surplus. What Mr Abbott is
doing is cherry picking everything he doesn't like and simply knocking out all of these things at
great damage to our budget strategy.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Okay, on tax, Mr Tanner, I assume you've always regarded and supported the Henry Tax
Review as potentially a very important catalyst for the next round of tax reforms.

LINDSAY TANNER: Clearly that is a landmark report that we are digesting in Government. The
Government is considering all of its options and we will release that report and our own response
to it in due course, Kerry, but we've been criticised by some commentators for rushing things, for
not having enough consideration within the Government about things and some of the same
commentators are also criticising us for not rushing our response to the Henry review.

We will deal with that at our own pace, at our own time. We've got many things on our plate to deal
with, not just that one.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, that may be so but it is a very important aspect of this Government's agenda,
as you've already acknowledged. If it really is so important, then how smart was the timing of such
a sweeping and potentially controversial review, landing it the Government's hands to be released
and debated in the heat and dangerous unpredictability of an election year?

LINDSAY TANNER: Well, I'd suggest to you, Kerry, that if we took that seriously then we'd be
rightly criticised for playing ducks and drakes with fundamental issues that are crucial to
Australia's economic future because of the electoral cycle.

It is difficult to avoid the electoral cycle. I accept that it's always going to have some
influence on how governments behave but if you start running for cover just because an election is
12 months away on an issue, then you've got real problems. We're committed to governing; we're
committed to addressing the issues that Australia faces. We want to lift productivity, we want to
get the budget back into surplus and we've got an Opposition that clearly is not fit to lead
Australia - an Opposition Leader that is trying to blow holes in the budget, that has put forward a
totally flaky parental leave scheme that simply does not pass muster where he didn't consult his
own colleagues and business. We are committed to doing the job.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Okay, okay, but I'm coming back. We're talking about tax here. The Government has
had four months to consider the Henry report so far. Yes, you've been doing other things but you've
had four months to consider this.

I wonder how much is a reasonable amount of time before that report should be released. Do you
acknowledge that with each month that passes before the report is released from now on, the more it
will look as if the Government is scared of the debate in an election year?

LINDSAY TANNER: Well, no, I don't accept, Kerry and over that four months we've had the Copenhagen
conference on climate change; we've had complete turmoil and mayhem in the Opposition side with
Malcolm Turnbull being replaced by Tony Abbott; we've had the holiday season and Kevin Rudd, I
think rightly, had a significant holiday. Even though everybody says he works too hard, well, he
actually had a break and that was a good thing.

And of course we've now launched into the biggest health reform in 30 or 40 years and Australia's
history. So we've got a lot on. I don't accept that there has been undue delay. We will be putting
out a response and the detailed Henry report in due course and whatever badgering we get from
various parts of the commentariate we'll just take on the chin.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Lindsay Tanner, thanks for talking with us.

LINDSAY TANNER: Thanks very much, Kerry.

Landmark case seeks hefty pay rises for women.

The trade union movement has been preparing a landmark case to be launched tomorrow to try to win
pay rises for 200,000 women doing some of the nation's toughest jobs. If successful, hefty pay
rises for women who work in women's refuges, aged care facilities, community centres and
counselling services could cost governments tens of millions of dollars.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: While paid maternity leave has dominated this week's headlines, the Trade
Union movement has been quietly preparing a landmark case to be launched tomorrow to try to win pay
rises for 200,000 women doing some of the nation's toughest jobs.

With the backing of the Federal Government, unions are seeking pay equity for the female dominated
community services sector, in a case before the industrial tribunal Fair Work Australia.

If successful, hefty pay rises for women who work in women's refuges, aged care facilities,
community centres and counselling services could cost governments tens of millions of dollars.

But there's more to come, as Heather Ewart reports.

MAREE MCDERMOTT, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WORKER: We are a sector of very goodwill. We want things to
be different for the community and that goodwill, I think, has actually been abused. Governments
have actually taken advantage of that.

HEATHER EWART, REPORTER: Maree McDermott is a community development worker at South Penrith
neighbourhood centre in Sydney's west. She's been in the field for 25 years, helping society's

She's employed by a local community group that's funded by the State Government.

She feels underpaid, and undervalued.

MAREE MCDERMOTT: I just don't think there is a-an understanding about the level of skill and
experience and qualifications that's actually needed to work in this sector. I mean, we're working
from the gentle community engagement stuff right through to families at their most vulnerable,
individuals at their most stressed - the most difficult families in the State.

And no matter how many qualifications I get, no matter how hard I work, I will still be paid less
than most men.

You've been coming for a while now, haven't you?

CLIENT: I have, yeah.

HEATHER EWART: Maree McDermott earns $45,000 a year. That's at least $20,000 a year less than
public servants with similar levels of responsibility.

She struggles to make ends meet and she's not alone.

SHARAN BURROW, ACTU PRESIDENT: There's 200,000 community sector women - these are angels. They work
with the homeless, they support women in domestic violence situations, they work with vulnerable
children. You name it, they're there to care for people who need help most in our community yet,
they're paid a pittance.

JULIA GILLARD, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: We believe it's in the long term interests of this nation to
sort this issue out and for us to have a community and social services sector with an appropriately
dealt-with, highly professional workforce.

HEATHER EWART: It's almost 40 years since women were officially granted equal pay for equal work by
the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, yet the ACTU estimates women in full time work
still earn 17 per cent less than men, or $1 million less over a lifetime.

Women like Maree McDermott started to lag behind when Federal and State governments chose to
outsource community work to charities and the non-government sector in the 1980s.

SHARAN BURROW: This is a case where it's not just a legal case; we'll be looking for community
support. This will be a case, in a sense a test case, that every woman in Australia we hope will
get behind.

HEATHER EWART: Tomorrow in the industrial tribunal, Fair Work Australia, the test case to win pay
equity for community workers gets under way, led by the Australian Services Union with backing from
the ACTU and the Federal Government.

JULIA GILLARD: It's obviously up to the union to make its case in front of the independent umpire
but we are going to use the resources of Government to make sure that the independent umpire has
all the facts it needs to deal with this application.

SHARAN BURROW: What you're talking about is looking at about $100 extra a week on average for up to
200,000 women, so we're not pretending it's not a sizeable figure. But is that something that
should stop women being paid properly?

HEATHER EWART: Changes to Federal workplace laws now enable unions to fight pay equity causes for
women here at this tribunal, Fair Work Australia. Until now, the female-dominated community
services sector came under a range of complicated State awards. Under a deal with the Commonwealth
Government, they're now in the Federal system and that paves the way for a hefty pay rise that some
argue the nation can't afford.

SENATOR ERIC ABETZ, SHADOW EMPLOYMENT MINISTER: That will be, I would have thought, a substantial
wage bill that the Federal Government may well then have to foot in a budgetary circumstance where
I think they will find it very difficult.

HEATHER RIDOUT, AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP: The fiscal position of Governments is very fraught at
the state and the Federal level, so this may not be a great time to be pursuing this.

JULIA GILLARD: When we get the result of the case we will take it into account in our budget
processes. What I would say is, for the Federal Government, for the community generally, we want to
see a community and social services sector that is dealing with its workforce properly. If we don't
have fair arrangements for these workers, we know the cost of that is continual churn in the work
force. People don't stay because they can get better paid jobs and easier jobs in other parts of
the economy, so a lot of expertise is lost.

HEATHER EWART: That's pretty strong backing for a test case which, if won by the unions, could cost
the Federal and State governments tens of millions of dollars.

The charities and non-government agencies employing community workers rely on State and Federal
funding. As well, the Federal Opposition argues, it could lead to costly flow-ons and inflationary

SENATOR ERIC ABETZ: As a general principle, pay equity I think is something that most people would
agree with, but I do indicate that there may well be caveats in relation to wage parity claims,
then the knock on effect...

JULIA GILLARD: It's not a change that would have flow on into other awards. It would be for this
section of the work force.

HEATHER EWART: Still, the ACTU sees this as the start of a wider campaign to improve the lot of
female workers nation-wide. At least one employer group cautions it may not be quite so simple.

HEATHER RIDOUT: The pay equity issue is sort of one thing, but it's this bigger issue of over-award
payments, promotion, interrupted careers, valuing of different occupations, so there's an awful lot
of other issues operating here which aren't easy to deal with through an award-based hearing or

HEATHER EWART: It's these sorts of issues and many more that form the basis of a new alliance
between the ACTU and professional women's groups, to be launched at Parliament House in Canberra
tomorrow morning.

JULIA GILLARD: There's a broad agenda here and it goes all the way from the factory floor right up
to the boardrooms of this nation.

HEATHER EWART: The aim is to put the pressure on governments, corporations and employers at all
levels to address the gender gap.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Heather Ewart with that report.

The last resort

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Australia's national parks are a magnet for tourists. The Great Barrier
Reef, Uluru and the Daintree all feature heavily in marketing campaigns.

But in Queensland there's no opportunity to stay inside these national parks unless they're
prepared to go camping. The State Government wants to change that and has asked the private sector
for expressions of interest in developing seven potential eco-tourism accommodation sites in or
next to the parks.

While the move has been welcomed by the tourism industry, no surprise there, the environment lobby
believe it's a step too far.

Peter McCutcheon reports.

(Rain Forest sounds and flute music)

PETER MCCUTCHEON, REPORTER: The morning after a massive downpour is the perfect time to experience
a subtropical rain forest in all its glory.

Attending today's guided walk is Shane O'Reilly, who runs an eco-tourism guest house on the edge of
Lamington National Park, south of Brisbane.

GUIDE: You can hear some brown thornbills calling there at the moment.

SHANE O'REILLY, O'REILLY'S RAINFOREST RETREAT: People want to learn, now. They want to be out in
the bush, they want to learn and they want to be immersed in it.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: Shane O'Reilly wants to take that idea a step further, by building accommodation
deep inside the national park.

SHANE O'REILLY: And I don't think it needs to be a five star experience. What you need to charge is
a five star price.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: This talk of accommodation inside national parks has been prompted by Queensland
Government push for private eco-tourism development.

PETER LAWLOR, QUEENSLAND TOURISM MINISTER: There's a real opportunity to add to the Queensland
economy and to the tourism industry.

GUIDE: Lava just oozing out...

PETER MCCUTCHEON: But environment groups remain sceptical.

DR MARTIN TAYLOR, WORLD WILDLIFE FUND: My concern is this whole attitude that somehow we have to
milk more profit out of the parks system, that somehow it is not delivering economically and that's
just nonsense.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: Tourism is Queensland's second largest export earner after coal. But in the
Sunshine State and indeed across Australia, the industry has been hit by the global financial
crisis and increased overseas competition.

So tourist operators are looking for a new edge.

Private accommodation in national parks is offered in countries around the world, with South Africa
considered to be one of the market leaders.

And this type of development is offered in parts of Australia, such as the huts in Tasmania's
Cradle mountain wilderness. But there is nothing like this on offer in Queensland.

DANIEL GSHWIND, QUEENSLAND TOURISM INDUSTRY COUNCIL: It would be an enormous benefit to be able to
get into a large national park, perhaps.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: So the Queensland Government will soon call for expressions of interest to
develop private ecotourism accommodation in or next to national parks.

PETER LAWLOR: And of course with the leasing of these sites there's then a revenue source to
properly maintain the national parks and even to add to the area of national parks in the state.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: This national park site on Moreton Island off Brisbane is one of seven identified
by the Queensland Government for possible private ecotourism development. Now, the details are
still to be worked out, but it's clear it will be considerably more luxurious than basic camping.

Brian Osborn is the director of Moreton Island's Tangalooma Resort and is keen to take up the

Is there a market for it?

BRIAN OSBORN: Oh, yeah, there's definitely a market - world-wide trend. There's people now want to
holiday in these types of locations rather than high rise buildings and on the Gold Coast type

Dr Martin Taylor: Well, in principle there's no problem. The problem is that our parks system is
too small and too fragmented to bear the impacts of these kinds of developments.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: Dr Martin Taylor from the World Wildlife Fund says Tasmanian-style private huts
wouldn't work in Queensland

DR MARTIN TAYLOR: Twenty-seven per cent of Tasmania is national park. Only less than 5 per cent of
Queensland is.

So we have a big gap - a long way to go before we can start talking about infrastructure in parks
for tourism.

DANIEL GSHWIND: Our national parks in Queensland -maybe we should have more of them - but
nevertheless, it's a bigger land mass than the entire state of Tasmania. In that huge area, we're
looking at some house-block-sized opportunities.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: Shane O'Reilly commends the Queensland Government for taking on the issue but
questions the public camping site it has selected for development in Lamington National Park.

SHANE O'REILLY: I don't think it's what the customer wants. I think these days tourism decisions
are built on experiences and people want to be staying in an area where they've got an experience
around them

I am just not sure this site is going to offer it.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: The managing director of O'Reilly's Retreat would like to go further into the
rain forest.

Would you be interested in, say, perhaps building a private hut in the national park?

SHANE O'REILLY: Um, well, at the risk of being shot down by a number of people, I would say you
would, if it was done in a controlled manner and, uh, it was done in an area that could provide an
experience, where people would want to use it.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: But Queensland's Tourism Minister, Peter Lawlor, says ecotourism developments may
not be limited to the seven sites so far identified.

If this is successful we could see more private ecotourism development?

PETER LAWLOR: That is quite possible, yes.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: With its white sand beaches, warm climate and world heritage rain forests,
Queensland will always attract the tourist dollar. But it's a competitive market and the industry
is keen to get more of the action.

SHANE O'REILLY: It's not easy in Australia and tourism is not a high-margin business - with our
wages, particularly - so we're on a constant march to try and ensure that we preserve what we've
got and-but we also display what we've got so that people can experience it.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Peter McCutcheon reporting from Queensland.

And that's the program for tonight. Join us at the same time tomorrow, but for now, goodnight: