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Official opening of the rainforest conference



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EMBARGOB UNTIL DELIVERY

OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE RAINFOREST CONFERENCE

BY Ί\Έ HON, BARRY COHEN, M.P.

MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS AND ENVIRONT'-ONiT

2-3 FEBRUARY 198A - CAIRNS

M r . C h a i r m a n , H onourable M i n i s t e r , l a d i e s and G entlemen

I AM VERY PLEASED TO WELCOME YOU ALL HERE THIS MORNING-

I as ke d my D ep artment to arrange t h i s C onference

TO PROVIDE A FORUM FOR DISCUSSION OF THE WIDE RANGE

OF IMPORTANT ISSUES AND VIEWPOINTS THAT ARE RELEVANT

TO THE CONSERVATION OF AUSTRALIA'S RAINFOREST RESOURCES ·

R a i n f o r e s t s are an e m o t i o n a l t o p i c these days but

I HOPE THE DISCUSSION WILL REMAIN RATIONAL AND BALANCED·

I AM +ftRE-~VU_Ul_NO PRECONCEPTIONS NOR HAVE I DECIDED

WHAT POLICIES NEED TO BE FOLLOWED BY THE GOVERNMENT

ABOUT MILLING OR ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE · NOBODY NEED

FEEL THREATENED BY THIS CONFERENCE · O n THE CONTRARY,

I AM HERE TO LISTEN TO EVERYONE ' S POINT OF VIEW.

Ac c o r d i n g l y , we have , i n v i t e d a se l ec t io n of those

ORGANISATIONS AND AUTHORITIES MOST CONCERNED WITH

THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIAN RAINFORESTS TO TAKE PART

AS I BELIEVE WE MUST HAVE REPRESENTATIVES FROM ALL

SIDES OF THE DEBATE·

I AM MOST PLEASED THAT THE TWO STATE GOVERNMENTS,

New South Wales and Qu ee n sl a n d , have agreed to take

p a r t .

Page 2

W h i l e the C onference w i l l focus on r a i n f o r e s t s in

TROPICAL AND SUBTROPICAL REGIONS I AM GLAD TO SEE

THAT PARTICIPANTS WILL BE GIVING SOME THOUGHT TO

THE TYPES OF VEGETATION THAT SHOULD BE COVERED BY

a Commonwealth Ra i n f o r e s t Conservation Po l i c y .

The f i r s t half of the conference program w i l l be

DEVOTED TO INFORMATION PAPERS ON A WIDE RANGE OF

SUBJECTS· We HAVE PLANNED IT THIS WAY SO AS TO PROVIDE

A SOUND BASIS FOR THE DISCUSSIONS WHICH WILL FOLLOW

AND TO ENSURE THAT EACH OF US IS WELL AWARE OF THE

TOTAL RANGE OF ISSUES INVOLVED*

Whatever proposals I make to the Government , in due

COURSE, WILL NEED TO BE BUILT ON A SOUND INFORMATION

BASE - I WOULD LIKE TO BE IN A POSITION, FOR EXAMPLE,

to tell my Mi n i s t e r i a l colleagues : "

• WHAT RAINFOREST WE HAVE IN AUSTRALIA

• WHAT IS ITS CURRENT STATUS

• WHAT WE ARE EARNING FROM OUR RAINFOREST-BASED INDUSTRIES '

• HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE EMPLOYED DIRECTLY AND

INDIRECTLY IN RAINFOREST TIMBER PRODUCTION

• WHAT AREAS HAVE SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR

CONSERVATION “ AND WHY

• WHERE RAINFORESTS CAN BE LOGGED FOR SUSTAINABLE

YIELD

PAGE 3

. WHERE ADDITIONAL NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES

OR EXTENSIONS OF EXISTING PARKS AND RESERVES

ARE NECESSARY, AND

• WHAT ADJUSTMENTS WOULD NEED TO BE MADE,

FINANCIALLY; IN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES,

IN JOB TRAINING AND IN TIMBER INDUSTRY

PRACTICES TO ACHIEVE AN OPTIMUM ARRANGEMENT

OF CONSERVATION AND UTILISATION·

I t i s almost 10 years s i n c e the H ope C ommi ttee of

I n q u i ry i nt o the n a t i o n a l E state told us that the

AVAILABLE EVIDENCE POINTED TO ~

" the urgent need to manage in the most CONSERVATIVE

MANNER THE REMAINING RAINFOREST AREAS OF THE

WORLD, INCLUDING AUSTRALIA, AS NATURAL OR NEAR­

NATURAL SYSTEMS AND TO CONCENTRATE INTENSIVE

FOOD AND WOOD PRODUCTION ON LAND ALREADY CLEARED"·

( P · 55 )

T he H ope I n qu i ry recommended

" that a l l forestry a u t h o r i t i e s recogni se THE

URGENT NEED TO MANAGE, IN THE MOST CONSERVATIVE

MANNER, THE REMAINING RAINFOREST AREAS OF AUSTRALIA"·

( P - 3 3 7 )

I AM SURE YOU ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH THE ACTION

THAT HAS BEEN TAKEN TO DEVELOP A NATIONAL CONSERVATION

STRATEGY FOR AUSTRALIA-

PAGE 4

T he G overnment is now e x a m i n i n g the strategy proposed

BY A WIDELY REPRESENTATIVE CONFERENCE HELD IN CANBERRA

l a s t J u n e · I have called for a report on the i m p l i c a t i o n s

OF THE PROPOSALS FOR THE COMMONWEALTH' S CURRENT POLICIES .

AND PROGRAMS· THE PRIME MINISTER HAS ASKED THE PREMIERS

and the Ch i e f Mi n i s t e r of the Northern Territory

TO HAVE THE STRATEGY EXAM I NED BY THEIR GOVERNMENTS

AND HAS AGREED TO BRING THE SUBJECT FORWARD FOR

DISCUSSION AT A FUTURE PREMIERS ' CONFERENCE ·.

The PROPOSED STRATEGY IDENTIFIES A SET OF OBJECTIVES

AND PRIORITIES FOR ACTION THAT ARE CONSISTENT WITH

THE OVERALL PRINCIPLE OF LIVING RESOURCE CONSERVATION

FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. It IDENTIFIES GIVING

HIGH PRIORITY TO. THE PROTECTION OF RAINFORESTS-

The b a s i c theme of the n a t i o n a l Conservation Strategy

is sound' management of natural resources . - I. WOULD

LIKE YOU TO BEAR THAT OBJECTIVE IN MIND IN YOUR DISCUSSIONS·

I WANT TO BE ABLE TO PUT FORWARD A POLICY TO ACCEPT

THE CHALLENGE'S—Θ-F MANAGING.OUR RAINFORESTS " TAKING

PROPER ACCOUNT OF THE PEOPLE AND INDUSTRY THAT DEPENDS

ON THEM SO THAT NO PART OF OUR HERITAGE AND NO

SECTOR OF THE COMMUNITY IS SERIOUSLY DISADVANTAGED

by the Government ' s actions ·

PAGE 5

R a i n f o r e s t s in A u s t r a l i a are part of a global concern

ABOUT RAINFOREST CONSERVATION, WHICH HAS EMERGED

AS ONE OF THE MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES OF THE 1 9 8 0 ' S -

T he I n t e r n a t i o n a l U n i o n for the C onse rva ti on of N ature

and N atural R e s ou r c e s , the W orld W i l d l i f e F und and

the U-N- E nvi ro nm en t P rogram have recently begun

AN AMBITIOUS TROPICAL RAINFOREST CONSERVATION PROGRAM,

WHICH INCLUDES FIELD PROJECTS IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES---------.

AND A SERIES OF POLICY STUDIES ON TROPICAL FOREST

DEVELOPMENT AND CONSERVATION-

I n d o n e s i a has approved a master plan for I r i a n J aya

WHICH SETS ASIDE AREAS OF RELATIVELY UNDISTURBED

FOREST TO BE INCLUDED IN CONSERVATION AREAS WHICH,

IN FUTURE, WILL REMAIN TOTALLY UNDISTURBED- MALAYSIA,

T h a i l a n d and other t r o p i c a l c o u n t ri e s in our region

AND ELSEWHERE ARE GIVING INCREASING NATIONAL ATTENTION

TO RAINFOREST PROTECTION-

A u s t r a l i a has a lower p o p u l a t i o n d e n s i t y than any

OTHER COUNTRY WITH LARGE AREAS OF RAINFOREST- WHILE

WE CERTAINLY HAVE ECONOMIC INTERESTS IN UTILISING

RAINFORESTS, IT IS NOT A MATTER OF HUMAN SURVIVAL,

AS HAS BEEN ARGUED IN OTHER COUNTRIES- THEREFORE,

IN MY VIEW, WE HAVE A PARTICULAR OPPORTUNITY AND

RESPONSIBILITY TO ADOPT SOUND CONSERVATION POLICIES

HERE

PAGE 6

S ucce s s f ul p o l i c i e s i n A u s t r a l i a may well p r o v i d e

A LEAD FOR OTHER COUNTRIES- '

I n RECENT MONTHS I HAVE RECEIVED HUNDREDS OF LETTERS

AND TELEGRAMS URGING ME TO INTERVENE TO PREVENT DESTRUCTION

OF RAINFOREST IN NORTH QUEENSLAND - SOME REPRESENTATIONS

HAD TO DO WITH THE SUBDIVISION OF LAND FOR RESIDENTIAL

DEVELOPMENT BY PEOPLE OF INFLUENCE WHO DON' T SEEM

TO REALISE THAT YOU CAN' T CARVE RAINFOREST INTO 2 “

HECTARE BLOCKS, BUILD HOUSES AND THEN SIT ON THE

BALCONY AND ADMIRE THE "UNDISTURBED PRIMEVAL BEAUTY"

OF THE FOREST -

Many of these requests for Federal Government i n t e r v e n t i o n

WERE ABOUT THE ROAD FROM CAPE TRIBULATION TO BLOOMFIELD-

When Ca p t a i n Cook named Cape Tr i b u l a t i o n he chose

TITE~lT7VMiry-~H-E—S-A.LD, "BECAUSE HERE BEGAN ALL OUR TROUBLES" -H i s , along w i t h m i n e ! !

A s I s a i d at the heigh t of the argument , the cut tin g

OF A ROAD THROUGH THE RAINFOREST, SO CLOSE TO THE

COAST AS TO HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE FRINGING

REEFS, IS AN ACTION FOR WHICH THOSE RESPONSIBLE MUST

BE HELD TO ACCOUNT -

PAGE 7

A t the t i m e I CONSIDERED very c a r e f u l l y whether the

G overnment should pr o v i de f i n a n c i a l a s s i s t a n c e to

BUILD AN ALTERNATIVE ROAD WHICH WOULD BE LONGER AND

MORE EXPENSIVE ~ BUT ENVIRONMENTALLY MUCH LESS DAMAGING-

H owever I came to the c on c l us io n that i t would be

a dangerous precedent for the G overnment - or any

G overnment - to stop any e n v i r o n m e n t a l l y damaging

ACTIVITY by another a u t h o r i t y by o f f e r i n g them money

NOT TO TAKE WHATEVER ACTION THEY THREATENED-

To DO SO WOULD OPEN THE WAY TO THREATS OF ENVIRONMENTAL

VANDALISM FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING COMMONWEALTH

FUNDS AND WOULD PLACE THE GOVERNMENT IN AN UNTENABLE

POSITION.

I STILL THINK IT REGRETTABLE THAT THE CLASH OF INTERESTS

ABOUT THE MATTER BECAME SO HEATED THAT IT WAS NOT

POSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO SIT DOWN AND WORK OUT THE

MOST SENSIBLE, MOST ECONOMICAL AND LEAST DAMAGING

WAY TO PROVIDE BETTER ROAD ACCESS FROM CAPE TRIBULATION

to Bl o o m f i e l d . Maybe i t is not yet too late to i n j e c t

SOME RATIONAL THINKING INTO THE WHOLE SORRY AFFAIR-

There was a great deal of p u b l i c support for Commonwealth

INTERVENTION- I t IS IMPORTANT, HOWEVER, FOR PEOPLE

TO UNDERSTAND THAT UNDER THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION

PAGE 8

the S t a t e s have p r i m a r y r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for land use

AND CONSERVATION. THEY HAVE THE AUTHORITY - AND

THEY MUST BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS-

I KNOW THAT MANY OF YOU WILL BE FAMILIAR ALREADY

WITH THE POWERS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN RELATION

to the W orld H e r i t a g e P r o p e r t i e s C o n s e r v a t i o n A ct

1983 AND OTHER LEGISLATION- HOWEVER, THERE IS CONFUSION

IN THE MINDS OF MANY PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT WE CAN, OR

CANNOT DO- I THINK THAT I T IS IMPORTANT THAT WE

TAKE A LI TTLE TIME TO CLEAR THIS CONFUSION AT THIS

STAGE OF THE CONFERENCE-

F i r s t l y , there i s the q u i t e erroneous v i e w t hat the

G overnment c a n , whenever i t w i s h e s , dec la re an area

EITHER TO BE OF WORLD HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE, OR PUT

i t on the W orld H e r i t a g e L i s t and then p r o h i b i t e i t h e r

a S t a t e or L ocal G overnment or a p r i v a t e i n d i v i d u a l

or company from u n d e r t a k i n g any a c t i v i t y i n t hat

area t hat m i g h t change or e f f e c t the e n v i r o n m e n t .

S i nc e the passage of the B i l l and the subsequent

H igh C ourt c a s e , I have r e c e i v e d a number of demands

to decla re such and such an area to be W orld H e r i t a g e ,

OR TO USE THAT SECTION OF THE ACT THAT PROVIDES THAT

the G overnment may make r e g u l a t i o n s to d e c la re any

area i n A u s t r a l i a to be part of the W o r l d ' s nat ura l

PAGE 9

AND CULTURAL HERITAGE· THIS IS A COMPLETE MISREADING

of the A c t - F i r s t l y l e t me deal wi th the q u e s ti o n

of W orld H e r i t a g e l i s t i n g and I shall use C ape T r i b u l a t i o n

AS AN EXAMPLE·

T he fact that C ape T r i b u l a t i o n i s on the R e g i s t e r

of the N a t i o n a l E st at e means that the area i s s i g n i f i c a n t

for the A u s t r a l i a n communi ty both at present and

FOR THE FUTURE. WORLD HERITAGE LISTING CONCERNS

AREAS WHICH ARE OF "OUTSTANDING UNIVERSAL VALUE",

THE DISAPPEARANCE OR DESTRUCTION OF WHICH WOULD CONSTITUTE

A "HARMFUL IMPOVERISHMENT OF THE HERITAGE OF ALL

NATIONS OF THE WORLD" · ALTHOUGH THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

MAY NOMINATE ANY AREA FOR INCLUSION IN THE WORLD

H e r i t a g e l i s t , i t i s not the A u s t r a l i a n G overnment

THAT DECIDES WHETHER THE AREA SO NOMINATED IS ACCORDED

a W orld H e r i t a g e L i s t i n g -

A r t i c l e 11- 5 of the UNESCO Convention for the Protection

of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage states

THAT -F-Q-R AREAS TO COME WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF " NATURAL

HERITAGE" THEY MUST : _

1 · " be OUTSTANDING EXAMPLES REPRESENTING THE MAJOR

STAGES OF THE EARTH' S EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY,

2· BE OUTSTANDING EXAMPLES REPRESENTING SIGNIFICANT

ONGOING GEOLOGICAL PROCESSES, BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION

AND MAN'S INTERACTION WITH HIS NATURAL ENVIRONMENT,

PAGE 10

AS DISTINCT FROM THE PERIODS OF THE EARTH'S

DEVELOPMENT, THIS FOCUSES UPON ONGOING PROCESSES

IN THE' DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNITIES OF PLANTS

AND ANIMALS, LANDFORMS AND MARINE AND FRESH

WATER BODIES, OR,

3- CONTAIN SUPERLATIVE NATURAL PHENOMENA, FORMATIONS

OR FEATURES OR AREAS OF EXCEPTIONAL NATURAL

BEAUTY, SUCH AS SUPERLATIVE EXAMPLES OF THE

MOST IMPORTANT ECOSYSTEMS, NATURAL FEATURES,

YFTC'TACLES PRESENTED BY GREAT CONCENTRATIONS

OF ANIMALS, -SWEEP I NG__V_I STAS COVERED BY NATURAL

VEGETATION AND_ EXCEPT I ONAL COMBINATIONS OF

NATURAL AND CULTURAL ELEMENTS; OR,

4 · CONTAIN THE MOST IMPORTANT AND SIGNIFICANT

NATURAL HABITATS WHERE THREATENED SPECIES OF

ANIMALS OR PLANTS OF OUTSTANDING -UNIVERSAL ~

VALUE FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF SCIENCE OR

CONSERVATION STILL SURVIVE·"

M any areas are n o m i n a t e d for W orld H e r i t a g e L i s t i n g

BUT ARE REJECTED BY THE WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE-

So FAR ONLY 136 AREAS IN THE WORLD HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED

for W orld H e r i t a g e L i s t i n g and A u s t r a l i a has 5 of

THOSE AREAS ON THE L I S T - THE LI STI NG OF EVERY AREA

IN THE WORLD THAT IS ATTRACTIVE OR IMPORTANT TO A

PARTICULAR COMMUNITY ON THE WORLD HERITAGE L 1ST WILL

SIMPLY DEBASE THE CURRENCY · ONE OF THE MAJOR ARGUMENTS

the C ommonwealth used i n the H i gh C ourt case was

PRECISELY THAT THE FRANKLIN RlVER WAS ON THE L i ST,

A UNIQUE ITEM IN A N EXTREMELY SELECTIVE L I S T -

PAGE 11

T here are people who b e l i e v e that h av i n g been successful

i n the H igh C ourt we should j u s t transfer e v e r y th i n g

WHICH IS CURRENTLY ON THE NATIONAL ESTATE Li ST ONTO

the W orld H e r i t a g e L i s t . E ven i f we could do i t ,

WHICH CLEARLY WE CAN' T, I WOULD BE TOTALLY OPPOSED

TO CHEAPENING THE WORLD HERITAGE LISTING IN SUCH

a w a y . B efore t h i s G overnment w i l l nomi nate an area

IT WILL HAVE TO BE CERTAIN THAT IT MEETS THE CRITERIA

LAID DOWN BY THE UNESCO CONVENTION-

TO SHOW YOU HOW LUDICROUS THE SITUATION COULD BECOME,

LET ME RECALL AN INCIDENT THAT OCCURRED IN MY OWN

ELECTORATE SHORTLY AFTER THE HiGH COURT CASE · ΪΗΕ

NSW Government had announced the rezoning of the

Er i n a Va l l e y , a b e a u t i f u l s t r i p of farmland between

Gosford and Terri gal on the Central Co a s t . The plan

is to s u b d i v i d e the area into b u i l d i n g lots to accommodate

"APPROX-I-MA-TELY 3 0 , 0 0 0 PEOPLE DURING THE NEXT TWENTY

y e a r s · N a t u r a l l y some hundreds of people who have

HOBBY FARMS IN THE AREA WERE UPSET, ALTHOUGH SOME

WERE COMFORTED BY THE OBVIOUS COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES-H owever , I was challenged by the Chairman of a local

CONSERVATION ORGANISATION TO "SHOW MY SINCERITY BY

HAVING THE ERINA VALLEY DECLARED WORLD HERITAGE" ·

NOW I HAPPEN TO THINK THAT ERINA VALLEY IS VERY

BEAUTIFUL, I LIVE RIGHT NEXT TO I T , BUT NOT EVEN

IN MY WILDEST DREAMS WOULD I REGARD IT AS BEING OF

World He r i t a g e s t a n d a r d · The gentleman concerned

MADE THE HEADLINES AND SCORED A POLITICAL POINT BUT

PAGE 12

HE ADDED NOTHING TO THE REPUTATION OF WORLD HERITAGE

LISTING-

T here are a number of areas now b e i n g b a n d i e d about

as d e s i r a b l e n o m i n a t i o n s for the W orld H e r i t a g e L i s t .

A yers R ock and F raser I sland are amongst t h e m , but

SO ARE A NUMBER OF OTHERS WHICH CANNOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY-

I WAS ASKED WHY THE GOVERNMENT WASN'T TAKING ACTION

UNDER THE ACT T0—P-R-E-VENT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE

road i n C ape T r i b u l a t i o n . B efore the A ct can a p p l y

TO A PARTICULAR AREA A NUMBER OF CONDITIONS MUST

BE SATISFIED;

A) THE PARTICULAR PROPERTY MUST BE " I D E N T I F I ED

PROPERTY" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT, AND

b ) the G overnor - G eneral must be s a t i s f i e d that

THE PROPERTY IS BEING OR IS LIKELY TO BE DAMAGED

OR DESTROYED·

A PROPERTY IS " I D E N T I F I ED PROPERTY" IF IT HAS BEEN

SUBMITTED FOR INCLUSION IN THE WORLD HERITAGE Li ST

OR IT HAS BEEN DECLARED BY REGULATIONS UNDER THE

A ct to form part o f ■ the c u l t u r a l or natura l h e r i t a g e .

A nd by t h a t , the A ct means the w o r l d ' s c u l t u r a l

OR NATURAL HERITAGE-

PAGE 13

C ape T r i b u l a t i o n is not c urrentl y on the W orld H e r i t a g e

LIST AND I REMAIN TO BE CONVINCED THAT IT WARRANTS

SUCH A NOMINATION.

Should Cape Tr i b u l a t i o n be considered under that

part of the Act d ea l in g with areas of " outstanding

u n i v e r s a l v a l u e " and the c r i t e r i a contained in the

UNESCO c o n v e n t i o n ? Valu a bl e and b e a u t i f u l though

Cape Tr i b u l a t i o n might b e, i t d i d not meet the c r i t e r i a

and the High Court would have concurred .

To HAVE TAKEN THE MATTER TO THE ΗIGH COURT WOULD

HAVE RESULTED IN ANOTHER PROLONGED COURT CASE,IN

CONFRONTATION WITH THE QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT, FIGHTING

A CASE WE DID NOT BELIEVE WE COULD WIN­

HAVING SAID THIS, LET ME REASSURE YOU THAT THIS GOVERNMENT

IS VIGILANT IN PROTECTING THOSE AREAS OF AUSTRALIA

ALREADY ON THE WORLD HERITAGE L l S T .

WE WILL CONSIDER OTHER OUTSTANDING AREAS BUT WE WILL

NOT, I REPEAT NOT, BE STAMPEDED INTO NOMINATING FOR

World He r i t a g e l i s t i n g every area that is threatened

BY THE ACTIONS OF A STATE OR A LOCAL GOVERNMENT-

The Commonwealth Government c a n' t do what i t l i k e s

- OR WHAT PRESSURE GROUPS WANT IT TO DO- W e GOVERN

UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION

PAGE m

WITH STRICTLY DEFINED POWERS· ΪΗΕ FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

IS NOT A HIGHER COURT OF APPEAL , WHEN APPROACHES

to the Local and State Governments have f a i l e d .

It is just no use p e t i t i o n i n g Barry Cohen to invoke

the Act to save every b i t of uncleared bushland in

THE COUNTRY!

The platform on which the Hawke Government was elected

RECOGNISES THAT RAINFORESTS ARE A VALUABLE AND DIMINISHING

WORLD AND NATIONAL RESOURCE, AND CONTAINS A COMMITMENT

TO DEVELOP POLICIES WHICH WILL PROVIDE A BALANCE

BETWEEN ECONOMIC, ECOLOGICAL AND RECREATIONAL NEEDS

for Au s t r a l i a ' s forest resources .

I n developing a proposal for a ra in f o re s t conservation

POLICY I WANT TO ENSURE THAT WE PREVENT FURTHER DEGRADATION

OF OUR FORESTS SO THAT FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL CONTINUE

TO HAVE THE SAME ACCESS TO RAINFOREST AS WE HAVE

TODAY. IF WE CAN ADOPT A POLICY THAT WILL ENABLE

US TO UNDO SOME OF THE DAMAGE ALREADY DONE, SO MUCH

THE BETTER-

There is no doubt in my mind that the Na t i o n a l Government

HAS A ROLE IN PROTECTING A RESOURCE THAT IS PART

OF OUR NATIONAL HERITAGE- At PRESENT RAINFORESTS

ARE ONE OF THE MOST THREATENED PARTS OF THAT HERITAGE-

PAGE 15

I HAVE INVITED Y.OU - THE EXPERTS " TO POOL YOUR KNOWLEDGE

DURING THE DISCUSSIONS AND TELL ME WHAT YOU REGARD

AS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS TO BE INCORPORATED

in a N a t i o n a l R a i n f o r e s t C o n s e r v a t i o n P o l i c y ; what

PRACTICAL STEPS THE GOVERNMENTS AND PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA

CAN TAKE TO IMPLEMENT A NATIONAL POLICY - AND WHAT

WOULD BE THE COST.

M r . C h a i r m a n , I t a k e great p l e a s u r e in d e c l a r i n g

THIS IMPORTANT CONFERENCE OPEN·