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Senator Hill should save the Point Lillias Wetland on World Wetland Day

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media Statement -,412Is Mae Hon Dr Carmen Lawrence MP Shadow Minister for the Environment; the Arts; and assisting the Leader of the Opposition on the Status of Women;

Member for Fremantle

CL7197 1 February 1997


World Wetland's Day, this Sunday, is an opportune time for Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill, to announce that the Federal Government will not allow the Point Lillias Ramsar listed wetland to be converted into a chemical storage facility as proposed by the Victorian Government, Shadow Environment Minister, Dr Lawrence said today.

"This Sunday is the perfect day for the Federal Environment Minister to announce he will save the Point Lillias wetland. If he is truly committed to the protection of our wetlands he won't hesitate to make this commitment," Dr Lawrence said.

"Senator Hill is celebrating the day by visiting a number of wetlands in South Australia, while he is there he should also make a commitment to the Point Lillias wetlands. Anything less will be sheer hypocrisy," she said.

The relocation of the chemical facility to Point Lillias cannot proceed unless the Commonwealth Government agrees to excise land listed under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention). Under the Convention land can only be excised if it is the 'urgent national interest' to do so. This mechanism is considered an absolute last resort and in the past 25 years only three cases from a total of 700 listed sites world wide have ever been approved.

Di Lawrence said that the community has been waiting over eight months for Senator Hill's decision.

'It is clear from documents I have obtained that the Victorian Government's relocation proposal fails to meet the 'urgent national interest' test. There is nothing more for Senator Hill to consider or negotiate, he must reject the Victorian Government submission, and save the wetland," Dr Lawrence said.

Point Li lli as is another test of this Government's environmental credentials and importantly, of Senator Hill's commitment to World Wetland's Day.

Contact: Caroline Tumour 0419 963486 RG115, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Ph: (06) 277 4181; Fx: (06) 277 8501 Unit 7, Queensgate Mall, William Street, Fremantle 6160 Ph: (09)335 8555; Fx: (09) 336 1059

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