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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 3007

Senator MACKLIN —Is the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment aware that the Douglas Shire Council of Cairns is about to commence construction of a road through the magnificent coastal rain-forest wilderness between Cape Tribulation and Bloomfield? Is it not a fact that this area is listed on the register of the National Estate? Is it also not a fact that the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment said in Queensland on 23 November that this area would be suitable for world heritage listing? Can the Minister confirm that the Government has proper and responsible legislative powers under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 and the World Heritage Properties Conservation Act 1983 to prevent this act of destruction against the National Estate?

The PRESIDENT —A similar question has been asked, but this one is a little wider in its terms. Therefore I shall allow it. I call the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment.

Senator RYAN —I answered a question about this proposed road which would destroy the rain-forest region in the Daintree area. I informed the Senate that my colleague the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment is having discussions with Queensland officers to seek to provide an alternative whereby the rain- forest can be protected and the development needs of north Queensland addressed. In relation to the specific powers which the Commonwealth might have, either to list the matter on the World Heritage List or to take action, I will refer those matters for more detailed response from the Minister, Mr Cohen.