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Balance returns to the environment debate



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BALANCE RETURNS TO THE ENVIRONMENT DEBATE

Australians now understood that their future prosperity depended on sensible economic development, the Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce, Ian McLachlan, said today.

He said political uncertainties and the lack of environmental guidelines for industry had caused a five year investment holiday in Australia.

"Commercial investment has been stultified by over-zealous urban conservation commandos who have become a powerful instrument - shaping the policies and practices of governments who are desperate for votes to remain in office.

"Up to $600 million a year in gold, platinum and palladium is being foregone in the delayed Kakadu development; $350 million a year of export earnings is being lost in the delayed Wesley Vale Pulp Mill and $450 million of capital expenditure has been directed to North America, France and the United Kingdom by AMCOR, the packaging, pulp and paper group.

"The Shell Company of Australia has delayed a $200 million upgrade, the chemical company ICI has been forced to close two Melbourne plants for environmental reasons, and Hoescht Australia is reviewing its operations. The Canberra consultants Access Economics have estimated that major investment projects worth as much as $15 million are potentially the subject of an

environmental veto," Mr McLachlan said.

Speaking in Federal Parliament on a Matter of Public Importance Mr McLachlan said he had been involved both a forestry project and an agro forestry project where livestock and trees grew together since 1978 and was also involved in a commercial eucalypt plantation.

"I have a wetlands project which has been improving slowly since 1980 and my family is starting work on another. Along with hundreds of thousands of others I've been a contributing member to a North American wetlands project for the past seven years which spends at least $US50 million a year creating breeding grounds for wild fowl and in all of those projects, I have never

seen hide nor hair of what we call a 'green1 , nor have I seen hide nor hair of a 'closet green' from the Government.

"The Government went along with the green diversions, in fact it used them for its own ends. Now it is hoist on it and long may it stay there.

"This resources security trauma is the epitome of Australia's dilemma - Australians know what has to happen, they know that life has to be brought back to reality. People know that investment will not come back in this country until we solve out internal problems on the waterfront, in the air, and at the workplace," Mr McLachlan said.

Further information: Ian McLachlan Telephone: 06 277 2039 COMMONWEALTH

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MiCAH

7 March 1991