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No drilling or mining on Barrier Reef



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76

k . · . “ · . ’ ·-. . - .

. NO DRILLING OR MINING, ON BARRIER, REEF

The Attorney-General, Senator Peter Durack,

0.C ., reaffirmed today that the Commonwealth Government

would not permit drilling on the Barrier Reef itself.

He said the Prime Minister had also given an

unequivocal undertaking that the Government would not

permit drilling or mining that would do anything to

damage the reef. .

"The Commonwealth Government .is very

conscious of what its powers are and what its

responsibilities are in this matter," he said.

Senator Durack said the subject of marine

parks had not yet been specifically discussed by the

Premiers' Conference. He and Senator Webster, the

Minister for Science and Environment, would be meeting

Queensland Ministers to discuss legal and other issues

in relation to the Barrier Reef region before the next

Premiers' Conference in J u n e .

"We wish to discuss with Queensland Ministers

whether agreements can be reached that are. satisfactory

to both Governments and which are in accord with the

Commonwealth's responsibility." . , .

• The .Attorney-General said the Commonwealth

Government had not yet made any decisions in relation

to the Report of the Royal Commission on the Great

Barrier Reef. It had called for material to be prepared

and provided so t h a t 'the Report could be considered and

a decision made in due course. · · ■

• ■ . *

V

- 77 -

, The A t t o r n e y - G e n e r a l said .the, G o v e r n m e n t had-

a l r e ad y h a d advice from the A u s t r a l i a n Science and

T ec h n o l o g y Council about wh at r es ea rc h p r o g r a m c ould be

u n d e r t a k e n . It h ad r ec e n t l y asked that the A u s t r a l i a n

Ma ri ne S c iences and T e c h n o l o g i e s A d v i s o r y C o m m i t t e e to

look at what sort of r es e a r c h should be done.

This r es ea rc h w o u l d deal not just w i t h the

q u e s t i o n of the effect of d ri ll in g or e x p l o r a t i o n for

oil in this a r e a but w i t h the impact on the R ee f of

va ri ou s o t he r a ct iv i t i e s that may o ccur in r el at i o n to

i t .

·.· "The G o v e r n m e n t w ants to have be fo re it the

fu llest advice of w hat the p ro bl em s are and the

p o ss ib le s o l u ti on s of those problems before it f or ma ll y

c o n s i d e r s it as a G ov er n m e n t and deci de s w hat its

p o li c y w ill be", Senator Du rack said.

C a n b e r r a

10 M ay 1979

25/79

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