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Thursday, 1 June 1972
Page: 2454

The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Keeffe, I would like you to come back to the Bill.

Senator KEEFFE - I am being helped by a few people on both sides at the moment. I will certainly return to the argument.

The PRESIDENT - Digressions are reasonable but not total digressions.

Senator KEEFFE - Most of them are intelligent. The statement by the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts set out 2 recommendations by the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution. Senator Gair, who is interjecting sounds like a starfish. These recommendations were made following much painstaking research by the Committee. The first recommendation is that there ought to be a national policy. The Committee stated:

Australia should adopt a National approach to the management of its water resources which sets out acceptable standards, co-ordinates the aims and aspirations of State and local government authorities, and creates the machinery to achieve them in balance with other national goals such as those for growth and development.

But further on the Minister states:

The Government acknowledges the attitude of the States, as expressed in the Australian Water Resources Council, that while they would welcome increased Commonwealth activity in liaison, information, research and other services, they could not accept the concept' of a Commonwealth agency having the responsibilities described for a National Water Commission in Recommendation 2.

Recommendation 2 states:

The Government should lake urgent steps to establish a National Water Commission.

Hie functions of the Commission should include -

(a)   i he formulation of a national policy on water resources management;

(b)   an assessment of water resources and quality;

(c)   programming for the conservation and orderly development of water resources. lt should also be the administering authority for water resources within the Commonwealth's jurisdiction.

Some of those matters will come under the control of an institute such as the one we are talking about establishing today. So let us not play politics with such an institute. Let us make it something to which everybody in the world can look in terms of research. Senator Maunsell will probably be one of the first specimens that is dissected at the Institute if he does not stop interjecting. I am not sure whether he has any marine elements in his biological makeup. If we are to set up this Institute we ought to do it properly, and it ought to be divorced from politics altogether.

Senator Gair - Scaley-

Senator KEEFFE - Sometimes people call Senator Gair the turtle. The Institute will be doing research into that creature too. Results of research carried out at the

Institute ought to be available to similar institutions throughout the world regardless of the country in which they are situated or the government of that country. It ought to be a place of such high repute that people studying marine sciences will come to Australia to Cape Pallarenda to be able to enlarge their knowledge, carry out proper research and make a worthwhile contribution to this country. 1 hope that the passage of this Bill will be the first step in the proper establishment of a proper institute and that it will continue to progress from there and not have its growth stunted by lack of funds from this Government.

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