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Thursday, 9 March 1972
Page: 597

Senator BONNER (QUEENSLAND) - My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts. In view of the danger of the crown of thorns starfish to the Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the great wonders of the world, is any thought being given to the employment of Torres Strait Islanders, who are known as some of the greatest skin divers in the world, so that they may be employed to gather the crown of thorns and thus remove this danger to our Great Barrier Reef?

Senator GREENWOOD - I am not aware whether any consideration has been given to what' has been proposed because I am not sure at present how the danger of the crown of thorns is currently rated. Honourable senators will appreciate that an extensive investigation has been made and that the report of that investigation was presented to the Parliament last year. Subsequently there have been Press reports which, if they are to be accepted, indicate that some of the fears which had been earlier expressed are not being borne out, although certainly there has been a danger. One must accept that there is still some danger to the Great Barrier Reef. I know that the suggestion made by the honourable senator is backed up by an experience of the competence and expertise in this area of the Torres Strait Islanders to whom he has referred. I shall undertake to convey the question and suggestion to the Minister whom I represent.

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