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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2306

Senator JESSOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Is the Minister representing the Minister for Urban and Regional Development aware of the grave concern expressed by scientists, conservationists and residents in the Hallett Cove area of South Australia over the inaction of the Federal and State Labor Governments to acquire land to provide a buffer zone for the protection of the 600 million year old amphitheatre which has been described by scientists as a unique geological treasure house? Has the Minister's attention been drawn to telegrams from members of the South Australian Science Teachers Association requesting urgent action to prevent the continuation of bulldozing close to the edge of the amphitheatre, which already has resulted in one corner being filled in? As this area has already attracted the attention of the Minister for the Environment and ConservationI understand he is absent from Australia at present- and as he has inspected the place and said that it should be preserved as a priceless historic feature for South Australia, will the Minister take urgent steps to see that this area is declared part of the National Estate? Will he ensure that Commonwealth funds are made available to secure it for that purpose?

Senator CAVANAGH - I have a knowledge of the Hallett Cove area. As a member of the Opposition I was invited there by scientists and conservationists from the Adelaide University. I inspected the area and climbed the hills. People were alarmed at that time because housing development was taking place and they thought that the inflow of large numbers of people would destroy the historic nature of the area which, as far as scientists can trace, goes back to the Ice Age. I made passionate pleas to the previous Government to preserve this area but I could not get a penny from it. I could not get anything from it. Then the State government came along and preserved the area up to the railway line by purchasing it with, I think, Commonwealth Labor Government money. There is now a further claim that the area that was purchased to avoid its destruction was not large enough. This matter is being examined as a result of a visit to the area by the Minister for the Environment and Conservation. I would say that the only reason that this area has been considered for preservation is because of the change in government in 1 972.

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