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Coalition reiterates commitment to marine protection



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JOHN SHARP MEDIA RELEASE

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR GILMORE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SHIPPING AND WATERFRONT REFORM

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA: Tel 0 6 2 7 7 4213, Fax 0 6 2 7 7 2 1 2 4

COALITION REITERATES COMMITMENT TO MARINE PROTECTION

The Coalition today supported amendments to the Protection of the Sea (Powers of Intervention) Act 1981 and the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983. They apply the first Act to a wider list of environmentally hazardous chemicals, enabling Australian intervention to reduce pollution in the case of spillage, and give effect to Australia's protective obligations under Annex IV of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, as well as requiring ships entering Australian ports and waters to have on board an oil spillage emergency plan.

The Coalition strongly supports measures protecting the Antarctic environment. Likewise, the Coalition is acutely aware of the need to protect Australian waters from the consequences of spills of oil or other hazardous substances.

The amendments ensure proper safety programs and proper procedures. For several years the Coalition has supported any reasonable moves to minimise any potential damage to the marine environment.

In many areas of marine environmental protection, the Coalition's record has ben as good or better than that of the present Government - and accordingly, the Coalition has given its support to the amendments in question.

There is an attendant responsibility, however, as has been pointed out by the Australian National Maritime Association, for the Government to ensure that the on-shore back-up infrastructure is adequate. Port access for vessels in distress or leaking oil must be adequate, as must the availability of tugs, and there is a responsibility for the Federal Government to ensure that these are sufficient.

A proper strategy to ensure safe port access for these vessels is required and the Federal Government must respond to this need.

The world shipping fleet is ageing and the fate of vessels such as the Kirki demonstrate the hazards of this ageing fleet. Further legislation will be required to ensure that the maritime environment will be fully protected for future generations - and the Coalition will support reasonable measures that will achieve this.

Ends......... SI 1/92 Contact: John Wallis

27-5-92 A/H 06 277 4213

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