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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 1121


Mr MacKELLAR —by leave- As a previous Chairman of the Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation I have a special interest in the continuing workings of the Committee. I should like to commend the Committee for producing yet another report. Unfortunately, I, like so many other members of this House-in fact, so many other people in Australia-have not yet had the opportunity to visit Bungle Bungle. I must say that the name itself is attractive, particularly to politicians.

I had the opportunity, very briefly, to read the report and I commend the Committee for its heavy emphasis on the need for co-operation between the Commonwealth Government and the State Government in relation to the management of national parks. There can be no doubt that the primary responsibility rests with the State Government but, from the very brief time that I have had to read this report, I think that we have a new area which is largely undisturbed, giving both the State and Commonwealth governments the opportunity to plan very effectively for a maximum beneficial use of what is obviously a very attractive area.

One of the facets of national park management that we have to take into account is the increasing emphasis that the people place on taking advantage of national parks. Unfortunately one of the main results of heavy public use of fragile areas is that they suffer real damage and deterioration. When a new area such as this is being opened up, as it were, we have the opportunity for the State and the Commonwealth to get together. I think it is also a very good thing that the Aboriginal traditional inhabitants are encouraged and have the opportunity to take a full part in the planning for the future use of this recreational area. This gives further opportunity for greater co-operation between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals in the use and management of areas such as Bungle Bungle.

I hope that the co-operation stressed by the Committee takes place because we have seen in the past the very real problems that can arise when a State government and a Federal government come into conflict about the best way of managing what is, after all, an area of great interest not only to State residents but to Australian residents as a whole and to international visitors. I have no doubt that this area of Australia, whilst it is very remote at present, will prove increasingly attractive to overseas visitors. That is why I commend the Committee for putting an emphasis on getting the planning right at this early stage, rather than going ahead without a clear, concise and relevant approach to the problems of protecting what is, after all, from the Committee's report, not only an extremely attractive area but one which could very easily suffer damage by inadvertent use or inadequate planning.