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ACF urges Federal Government to stand firm on REEF trawling decision.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Australian Conservation Foundation

 

For immediate release

January 15, 1999

 

ACF URGES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO STAND

FIRM ON REEF TRAWLING DECISION.

 

The Australian Conservation Foundation today urged the Howard Government to defend the Grea t Barrier Reef and to consider doing more to avert the crisis it was facing, not less than has already been proposed.

 

ACF Executive Director Don Henry was responding to reports that acting Prime Minister Tun Fischer has given an undertaking to the Queensland Commercial Fishermens Organisation that moves by Environment Minister Senator Hill to clamp down on trawling on the reef would be over turned.

 

On Wednesday Senator Hill said the Commonwealth would take responsibility for trawling on the reef if Queensland had not finalised a management plan by July 1, which would ensure future trawling was ecologically sustainable and took into account habitat conservation issues.

 

Senator Hill also announced fines for illegal trawling would increase to $1 million following a CSIRO study, which found trawling was causing significant damage to the seabed.

 

"Given the crisis facing the reef, wore needs -to be done to save it not less The Howard Government must show that it is serious about defending this magnificent but fragile environment

 

"In June the World Heritage Bureau will consider a request from four eminent Australian scientists to investigate whether the reef should be put on the World Heritage "in danger” list.

 

"That would be a disaster for the $1 billion dollar reef tourism industry and the tens of thousands of jobs it generates.

 

"The reef belongs to all Australians, not just one sectional interest. Australia has a duty of care to protect the reef on behalf of the international community and to do that we need concerted action in the form of a reef rescue strategy.

 

"The reef is dying the death of a thousand cuts. Senator Hill's proposals for trawling are modest and sensible. We commend his decision and urge him to go much further to tackle the many other threats facing the reef. Winding back what had been proposed would he a travesty," Mr Henry said.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT ACF MEDIA OFFICER

WAYNE SANDERSON ON: (07) 3846 1621 OR 0417 723 661.

 

 

 

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