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Hawke's environment statement: second rate: second hand. Just not good enough

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TEL No . 1' j Ό 3 . ! j 0 0 : -1 0 F . 0



Senator Chris Puplick Shadow Minister for the Environment and Arts

i m m e d i a t e r e l e a s e Ψ/Β9 20 July 1989



The Prime Minister's much heralded "world's greatest environment statement" is so second rate and so second hand that it is almost unbelievable. Frankly if this is the best he can do after six years in office it really is time he moved on.

A careful analysis of " Our Country Our Future" reveals virtually nothing new apart from some additional and long overdue financial commitments to exisiting programmes.

In relation to matters such as additional research funds for CSIRO or for foreign aid initiatives these merely give back money previously stolen by the Hawke Government. The new water initiatives would not have been so necessary had Hawke not, as one of his first acts, cut out the Fraser Government's 1982/3 national waters programme.

These are but some examples of the monumental hypocrisy of the Government in this statement.

The included Schedule shows just how second-hand most of his Statement really is, just how hypocritical and how purely political in its design and execution.

On 20 May Richardson said this statement wouid "have an influcence on the world" - how pathetic, how hollow!

This Statement simply cannot match the Coalition Parties Policies and programmes nor our real record of concern and positive achievement in terms of protection and

enchancement of the natural environment.

i Telephone: Sydney (02) 251-8966 or Canberra (062) 77-3127 l


claim that National

Conservation Strategy "developed in 1984"

Referendum: "would

consider proceeding"

N a t i o n a l m i n i m u m

environment standards

I n t e g r a t i o n o f

environment and economic policy proposals

Further CSIRO research into greenhouse and


Foreign Aid initiatives

Save the Bush

Feral Animal and Plant control

National Wilderness


Wrong. NCSA initiated by Fraser 1980,

formally concluded and p u b l i s h e d 1 9 8 2 .

Liberal Party first party to formally


Lionel Bowen obviously has doubts!

Announced Opposition Policy t Oct 1988

Announced Opposition Policy : Oct 1988

Hypocrisy f rom a

Government which has cut funds to CSIRO BY 32% over 5 years

Hypocrisy from a

Government which has the worst and lowest record of foreign aid (cut by almost half)

in Australia's history

Announced Opposition Policy : Oct 1988

Announced Opposition Policy : Oct 1988

but going much further than this proposal

which is far too

limited. It also

fails to say anything about noxious weed

control which the

Opposition identifies as equally Important

Announced bv Andrew Peacock at Liberal

Party's recent Federal Council

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10. Ban driftnet fishing

11. Antarctic Minirals

12. Greenhouse Policies

13. Ozone protection

14. Soil Conservation and Landcare

15. Water Management

16. Tree planting

Announced____Opposition Policy i May 1989

Opposition initiative: Policy announced when Richardson and Evans still favoured Mining Convention

Opposition____ Climate Policy : June 1989 is far more detailed and comprehensive. It

sets real goals and


Opposition Climate Policy i June 1989

goes much further

especailly related to export bans on ozone depleting substances

SWEEP proposals (Soil and Water Environment Enhancement Programme) already announced goes much further. This

builds on Fraser 1980 Soil Con s e r v a t i o n


O p p o s i t i o n Policy

already goes further and includes role for Queensland. This is also another example of hypocrisy since in May 1983 the Hawke

Government cut out the Fraser Government's major national water programme worth $640 million

Announced Opposition Policy i Oct 1988

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17. Reafforestation Stolen from Opposition

Policy. Our Policy

states that we will

" p r o m o t e t h e

d e v e l o p m e n t of

p l a n t a t i o n s ,

e s p e c i a l l y o f

hardwoods, in order to lessen .... the

pressure of the timber industry on Australian native forests". (Oct 1988). Government now

states it will "hasten the establishment of hardwood plantations and so help reduce the forestry industy's reliance on native


18. Heritage commission Announced Opposition

resources (Heritage) Policy :

Dec 1988 and follows y e a r s of L a b o r

Government cut-backs in this area. More


19. H a z a r d o u s w a s t e Announced Opposition

management Policv : Oct 1988

20. Recycled Paper Tax


Announced Opposition Policv

21. Coastal zone Policy Announced Opposition

Policv t Oct 1988. Our policy goes further and proposes action, the Government wants

only another study

22. Energy Saving Announced Opposition

Policy t Our policies in E n v i r o n m e n t ,

Science and Climate already go further

with far greater

empahsis on the

promotion of alternate fuel sources

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23. Sand mining

24. Endangered Species

Fraser Island exports were banned by the

previous____ Coalition G o v e n m e n t . We

reaffirm our policy in that regard

Announced Opposition Policy $ Oct 1988.

M o r e G o v e r n m e n t

hypocrisy as this is the third such promise and over last 2 years this area has been

absolutely starved of funds by the Labor


25. Environment Resources Announced Opposition

P o l i c y i O c t

1988.Already in place under the AEGIS

programme and yet more hypocrisy as in 1987 Labor cut out the

publication of the

annual State of the

Environment Reports

26. Habitat protection Announced Opposition

Policy ; Oct 1988

27. Pulp Mill guidelines O p p o s i t i o n first

called for these to be published as a mater of urgency on 21

March. The CSIRO

Study Group reported by 30 June and yet

there is still no

Government response. This is a disgrace

28. Tourism Guidelines Announced Opposition

Policy Oct 1988 but

going substantially f u r t h e r t h a n


I do commend the appointment of Sir Ninian Stephen as the Ambassador for the Environment. This great and

distinguished Australian will play a significant role and 1 look forward to working with him in Govenment.



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There is absolutely nothing in this Statement which is genuinely new.

Thjere is nothing in this statement which has not already been announced as Policy by the Coalition Parties.

There are yawning gaps in the Statement : still no

commitment to the preparation of an Indicative List for the World Heritage Convention; no precise targets to reduce greenhouse gasses; no commitment to ban the export of ozone depleting substances; no proper framework for the preservation of biological diversity within our national parks system, to name but a few omissions

Even the strengths of this statement such as they are derive from initiatives of previous Liberal and National Party Governments, especially*


1980 1982 1983

1980 1982

1977 1981/2

development of the National

Conservation Strategy National Soil Conservation Programme National Tree Programme Water Resources Development

Programme (S640m. over 5 years) Migratory Birds Ordinances Wildlife regulation of export and import legislation

first National Estate listings first five Australian World Heritage listings.

I refer again to the hypocrisy of so much of the statement. It proposes

. to restore funds to CSIRO after cutting its

budget 32% in 5 years . to expand foreign aid having reduced it from

0.51% to 0.37% of GDP . to fund the Endangered Species Unit after

starving it for two years . to expand resources to the Heritage Commission having cut them , to expand data collection having eliminated

annual State of the Environment Reports . to expand water programmes having eliminated the previous $640m. 1983 initiative

Given the Deputy Prime Minister's latest remarks where does Hawke now stand on this diversionary referendum question?

No thinking Australian, no genuine environmentalist will be fooled by this second-rate, second hand public relations exercise.