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Labor launches 'no rigs on the reef' campaign.



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Nick Bolkus - Labor Launches No Rigs On The Reef Campaign

http://www.alp.org.au//media/1001/nbmsreef191001.html Friday, 19 October 2001

ALP News Statements

Labor Launches 'No Rigs On The Reef' Campaign Nick Bolkus - Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage

Media Statement - 19 October 2001

At the national launch of the 'No Rigs on the Reef' campaign in Townsville today, Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Nick Bolkus pledged that a Beazley Labor Government would ban all exploration and mining on and off the Great Barrier Reef.

"The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Area and a living natural wonder" said Senator Bolkus. "We cannot afford to put the Reef at risk.

"The Reef contributes billions of dollars to the Queensland economy through tourism and fishing. Allowing sesimic testing or drilling could have a serious impact if any accidents occur.

"Labor will enact legislation to prohibit all exploration mining and minerals development in Australia's jurisdiction from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to the limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone.

"John Howard, on the other hand, is considering an application for seismic exploration for oil near the reef. His own Minister for the Environment, Senator Hill, has admitted that it could lead to oil drilling.

"John Howard thinks it's okay to explore off the reef and he has failed to rule out drilling off the reef. But oil slicks are known to travel further than the distances being considered here."

Labor first established the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 1975 to protect the natural wonder from the impacts of unrestricted use and abuse. In 1981 it was declared a World Heritage Area in recognition of its international significance.

The reef has been under threat from drilling since the late 60s when the first proposals were considered by Joh Bjelke Petersen. It has taken successive Labor governments - at both State and Federal level - to prevent the drilling.

Labor is the only major party willing to protect the reef from the impact of oil drilling. There are some

things that should simply not be contemplated, let alone allowed by government", Senator Bolkus said.

"It is one more example of significant environmental threats to our natural treasures that have appeared in the last five years under John Howard. Howard has considered sand mining at Shoalwater Bay, has given approval to uranium mining at Jabiluka in the Kakadu World Heritage area and is now considering oil drilling off the Great Barrier Reef.

"Voters will be faced with a stark alternative at the next election. Only Labor will ensure that there are no rigs on the reef."

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.