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Monday, 14 October 1991
Page: 1808


Mr ALLAN MORRIS —-I refer the Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories to the recent press coverage of impediments to the implementation of the national endangered species strategy. Could the Minister inform the House whether the strategy is proceeding as planned and what steps are proposed to ensure that the national strategy proceeds properly?


Mrs KELLY —-The New South Wales Minister for the Environment has written to me advising me that he is unable to provide comments on a revised national strategy for the conservation of species and communities threatened with extinction. He says that the Premier would prefer to have that matter dealt with through the Special Premiers Conference rather than through the processes that have been in place for over two years.

This strategy would simply provide an outline of actions that need to be taken by all levels of government to save our endangered species and to prevent other species from becoming extinct. Unlike all the other State Ministers for conservation, over the past two years the New South Wales Minister has not taken advantage of a number of opportunities to comment on the development of this strategy.

When a revised version of the strategy was forwarded to State conservation Ministers for comments in December 1990, responses were received from all Ministers except the New South Wales Minister and all of the responses were very positive. This positive attitude was reinforced in July this year when, at a meeting of all the conservation Ministers, they endorsed this strategy and endorsed it for publication--subject to incorporation of the New South Wales Government's outstanding comments. We still have not received any of those comments.

As I said, it has been going on for two years. Every other State has responded in a very favourable way, and now we find that the New South Wales decision appears to have stalled a very well developed and a very pressing national initiative on the conservation of endangered species. I hope that the New South Wales Government will change its position in relation to this, because we want to get a national approach to the protection of endangered species. I believe that this not only has the support of State governments in this country but also has the support of the great majority of Australians.