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Thursday, 21 May 1970


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - As a Queenslander, I am more than happy to bc associated with the discussion on the creation of the Australian Institute of Marine Science in North Queensland in the electorate of Herbert. Honourable members will recall the announcement by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) last October of the Government's intention to establish such an institute. This Bill provides for the establishment of an institute to be known as the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and makes formal provision for the detailed planning of its functions and powers. Many people no doubt wonder exactly what this marine institute will do and what it will set out to create. I respectfully suggest that there are many areas in which an institute of this type can do a lot of good work. It is most appropriate that we as an island continent should be, as we enter the 1970s, stepping into this area.

For instance, such an institute would be most important to the fishing industry. As has been done in overseas countries, an institute can often inquire into the management of existing fisheries and the efficiency of fishing operations and new fisheries. There is also the subject of fish preservation, the subject of fish and shellfish cultivation and the modification of the environment. lt could also help the seaweed industry. Many honourable members on the other side of the House do not realise that in Scotland there is a seaweed industry that is worth some S2m a year. The seaweed is actually cultivated. The honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen) mentioned the pollution of water by oil, by sewage and by industrial and agricultural wastes. lt is most appropriate that Townsville in the State of Queensland has been chosen as the centre for this Institute. The Great Barrier Reef is a formation which more and more Australians are realising is more than a lucky blessing to this country. As a Queenslander, I am very happy that it is by the shores of Queensland. I am very conscious of the responsibility not only of members of the Parliament from Queensland but from all over Australia to do something to make sure that the future of the Barrier Reef is never jeopardised and that everything possible is done to preserve it not just for the next generation but for generations many hundreds of years away.

I might make mention of the officers who have been appointed as the Interim Council. They are: Professor Burdon-Jones of the University College of Townsville, as it has been called; Dr Fisher of the Commonwealth Bureau of Mineral Resources; Professor Dorothy Hill from the Department of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Queensland; Mr Walter Ives, Secretary of the Department of Primary Industry; Mr D. F. McMichael, Director of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the State of New South Wales; and Professor R. J. Walsh, representing the Australian Academy of Science. We all know that the Prime Minister himself has taken a particular interest in the creation of this Institute. I take this opportunity to also compliment the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett), because I know that behind the scenes the honourable member for Herbert has been pushing for the creation of an institute such as this. Again I compliment the Prime Minister on his appointment of the members of this Interim Council.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - The House has been discuss:ng the setting up of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Before the sitting was suspended for dinner ] said what a great pleasure it was to me as a Queenslander, that the Prime Minister, who played such a major part in ensuring this scientific advance, had chosen Townsville, so close to the Great Barrier Reef, as the site for the Institute. 1 want to refer to the international aspects of marine science but before doing so to point out that Queensland is one of the States which make Australia such a great international tourist attraction. Every honourable member - 1 include the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) - believes that his little home town or his little orchard is something for the world to see. However if we are realistic we realise that, in most cases as with the honourable member for Mallee, there are many days between visits to our home town areas by people from overseas.

The Great Barrier Reef is the heritage of Queensland and of Australia. I believe that this Government has an obligation to ensure that this heritage is protected. Tourism is now worth just over SI 00m a year to Australia. However, recently when on a private trip through central America and north America 1 learnt that tourism was worth more than $1 b:mon a year to Mexico, over $80m a year to the little island of Jamaica, and that the State of Florida in the United States earned $6,000m a year from this source. 1 do not think we have any reason to be smug because we earn $10Om a year from tourism. We must look to the resources within our reach and fully expand them to achieve the maximum income from tourists. 1 w sh to mention some of the international aspects of marine science and the scope for international co-operation in this field. Marine science is being recognised increasingly as an important avenue for international co-operation. Four principal areas call for multi-lateral co-operation on the part of interested nations. The first is the provision of effective international systems for co-ordinating and standardising the collection, processing and dissemination of scientific data. The second is the promotion, planning and co-ordination of major projects of research and exploration which, by virtue of their scale, cost and complexity, require the pooling of resources and facilities. Investigation and monitoring of ocean circulation, the inter-action between ocean and atmosphere, the influence of long range trends in the marine environment and the productivity of fish resources are examples of such projects. The third is the provision of the best available scientific advice to organisations responsible for the national utilisation and management of marine resources or the safeguarding of the marine environment from pollution The fourth area is the facilitation of the exchange of ideas and techniques between marine scientists and technologists of all countries.

We in Australia are no different from the rest of the world. We are witnessing the expansion of the problem of pollution. lt is spreading like a cancer. There are 25 suburbs in my electorate of Griffith on the south side of the Brisbane River. Bulimba Creek is located in that electorate. On my recent trip overseas 1 made a study of the pollution problems in Chicago. I came back to Australia convinced that if the Americans think they have pollution problems then they should have a look al Bulimba Creek in my electorate. About 18 years ago. when I was a very young boy, I used to go fishing in the Brisbane River at West End, which is also in my electorate. I went to Davies Park, which is now the home ground of the Southern Suburbs Rugby League Club.


Mr Killen - lt is a great football club.


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) -It is. We used to go fishing there after school and at the weekends. We could always be sum of bringing home 8 or 9 perch. But now, in the 1970s, 1 would not consider throwing anything into the Brisbane River for fear of being charged with polluting the water I would nol be able to catch anything, anyway.

The Institute of Marine Science will investigate not only what can be done in the waters of the Great Barrier Kee!', lt will concern itself also with our rivers where pollution by mankind is contributing to the despoliation of our environment. Areas of research that this institute can cover in years to come are almost boundless. I hope thai the Opposition will support this Bill with the same enthusiasm that was displayed by the Prime Minister when he introduced the proposal last year.

There is a long history of international co-operation in marine research. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. an inter-governmental organisation, was set up as far back as 1902 to encourage research in connection with the exploration of the sea and the co-ordination of the research activities of participating governments. In parallel there has been much non-governmental co-operation through the International Council of Scientific Unions and ils constituent unions and numerous disciples, and more recently, in the field of basic oceanography, by the Council of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research. Since the last war specialist intergovernmental organisations of the United Nations have assumed an important role in marine research, especially the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, and also the World Meteorological Organisation.

In this day and age when the population in certain countries is trebling, man most certainly is headed for definite destruction unless he makes some contribution towards ensuring that the seas continue to produce food. We must consider particularly the areas of Asia. One only has to visit Hong Kong and similar areas to realise what great reliance people place upon the sea continuing to provide food. The Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen), who is in charge of the passage of this Bill, is present in the chamber and I hope he will take note not only of my remarks but those of the learned bodies throughout the world who have considered marine science at great length.

The production of fish is important also to Australia. In the last couple of years we witnessed the controversy surrounding the prawning industry in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the trouble caused by the arrival in that area of ships from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I believe that the sea has food enough for each and every one of us; but we cannot continue to go in with the big nets, just swoop away the fish, and hope that they will replace themselves. We must, in some tangible way, make some contribution to finding out which is the best time to take fish so as to ensure that there will be plenty left to continue the process of breeding and thus make food available for all mankind.

One indication of the recent world interest in this field is provided by a United Nations Resolution on the Resources of the Sea which was adopted in December 1966. It called on the Secretary-General to prepare a survey of the present state of knowledge of the resources of the sea and of activities in marine science and technology, and to formulate proposals for an expanded programme of international cooperation to assist in a better understanding of the marine environment through science and in the exploitation and development of marine resources with due regard to the conservation of fish stocks. That is the point I am making. The survey and the proposals have now been published. I wonder how many Australians in 1970 have actually read this report. I wonder how many people connected with the fishing industry have had the interest to find out what is behind it. I wonder whether the fishermen, the wealthy boat owners and owners of fleets of ships have ever had the interest themselves or whether they have just looked at it in pure, hard economic terms and have gone out to reap the fish from the sea and if the fish have not been there in the following year they have moved to some other area. I hope with great sincerity that this organisation will provide as much information as possible, not only for the scientists of the world and the scientists of Australia but also for the people connected with these industries.

I mentioned earlier the importance of tourism. I believe that there is great opportunity here for the Minister for Education and Science to discuss with the MinisterinCharge of Tourist Activities (Senator Wright) the best way that the new Institute can be exploited from the tourists' point of view. My friend, the honourable member for Herbert, who was very much instrumental in having the Institute situated in Queensland and who worked closely with the Prime Minister, has told me only tonight that the Interim Council which has been appointed has already been to the city of Townsville looking at some possible sites. I hope that the architects who design the building can embody the principle of letting John Citizen see what is being done. Far too many of our centres of science and centres of learning are closed to the average citizen. Through his taxation he provides the money to build them. The scientists go to work and no-one ever knows what is going on behind those walls. But if we are to get maximum co-operation from the people involved in eliminating or lessening pollution, it is up to us to make provision for people to see for themselves. What a great opportunity we have here now at the beginning to do something with this Institute in Townsville so that tourists from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and even Western Australia who flock to my home State of Queensland when winter arrives and also during the summers can go up there to north Queensland and see exactly what is being done. Thus promotion of what was being done in this particular field would be facilitated. As I said earlier, a lot can be done.

Scotland has the seaweed industry worth about $2m a year. Fish and shell fish should be cultivated. Just 3 weeks ago a little north of Brisbane dozens of acres ot oysters suddenly became useless. This is a field where the Institute could go to work. I mentioned oil pollution and sewage pollution. One could once catch perch in the Brisbane River, f do hope that the Minister will bear these things in mind. I support the morion with great pleasure and I know that my colleague and friend, the honourable member for Brisbane (Mr Cross) is about lo speak. During my speech the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) came in and whispered a few things in his ear. I am quite certain that my friend is quite able to present a speech on this subject without outside interference and assistance. 1 know that he, as a Queenslander, will share-joy with honourable members on this side of the House in the fact that the Institute is to be built in Queensland, our home Slate.







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