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Thursday, 11 November 1976
Page: 2595

Mr SIMON (MCMILLAN, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development. Will the Minister confirm that the final report of the Commission of Inquiry on Fraser Island is primarily concerned with the environmental aspects of Commonwealth decisions regarding the export of minerals extracted from the island? Will the Government seek to have the whole of Fraser Island classified as a world heritage area under the International Convention for the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage? Also, will the Government seek to have Fraser Island classified as part of the National Estate of Australia? In this event, will the Government also examine the impact of forestry and tourism on the environment of Fraser Island?

Mr NEWMAN - The honourable member is correct in stating that under the terms of reference of the inquiry the commissioners focused their attention on the environmental aspects of the Commonwealth's decision on the granting of export licences. The Government has already stated that it would like to see Fraser Island declared as part of the National Estate. For the information of the honourable member, the procedure for taking this action, I recall, is detailed in section 23 and section 25 of the Australian Heritage Commission Act. I think the Government would also give consideration to including Fraser Island as part of the International Heritage. That could be done under the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation Convention for the protection of the world -

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honourable gentleman will resume his seat. There is private oral warfare being conducted in one corner of the House. I will not name the honourable members concerned but if they continue to disrupt the answer of the Minister I will be forced to deal with several of them. I call the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development.

Mr NEWMAN - As I was saying, the Government will give consideration to having the island declared under the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage. We are a signatory to that Convention and that could be done. As to the matter of the management of tourism and logging on the island, when my colleague Mr Nixon and I saw the Premier yesterday we put the proposition to him that we would be very willing to co-operate in any management plans on these aspects of maintaining the island. I hope that the Premier will give serious consideration to that offer.

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