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Democrats introduce bill to save the Franklin River



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PRESS RELEASE (APPROXIMATELY 5.00 P.M.) EMBARGOED TILL DELIVERY

NO. 82/147 CANBERRA 27 OCTOBER 1982

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DEMOCRATS INTRODUCE BILL TO SAVE THE FRANKLIN RIVER

Senator Colin Mason, Australian Democrat spokesperson on the environment today introduced a bill that would prevent any further damage to the environment of South-West Tasmania.

The World Heritage Properties. Protection Bill 1982 would implement within Australia the provisions and obligations of the World Heritage Convention

Australia ratified, the World Heritage Convention in August 1974. The Convention then came into force in December 1975, some days after the first Fraser Government was elected.

By becoming a signatory to the Convention Australia has recognised that it will do all it can to the utmost of its resources to protect and conserve our natural and cultural heritage.

Senator Mason said that South-West Tasmania has been explicitly recognised as an area of outstanding wilderness value by both the Federal and State Government having been put on the Register of the National Estate in 1980 and nominated for inclusion on the World Heritage List in 1981.

This bill comes at a crucial stage in the campaign to save the Franklin. Mr Gray's suggestion yesterday that the Prime Minister

should withdraw South-West Tasmania's nomination for World Heritage Listing is absurd. Mr Fraser would be regarded as a barbarian should he go back on his Government's recognition of South-West Tasmania's importance. I am sure he is aware of that," Senator Mason said.

"Australia has an international obligation to do all it can

to protect those areas we regard as being of outstanding heritage

value, such as.South-West Tasmania,. I urge the Government to adopt this bill so as to give their intentions a basis in law.

Not only would it save the Franklin but it would create in

Australia for the first time truly National Parks," Senator Mason concluded. . . ,

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Senator Colin Mason (062) 72 7434 David Campbell (062) 72 7328 (BH) (03) 241 4715 (AH)