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Tuesday, 28 February 1984
Page: 74

(Question No. 515)


Senator Chipp asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, upon notice, on 16 November 1983:

(1) Did information disseminated by the Australian Government in the United States prior to the commencement of the public hearings in Washington into the delisting of the three kangaroo species from the United States threatened species list, on 6 June 1983, seriously mislead the United States Government into believing that the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 and the national kangaroo management programme were both legally enforceable.

(2) Did the United States make it clear during these hearings on 6 June that the legal enforceability of the Act and the management programme were important to the delisting decision, and did the official Australian Government representative testify that the Act would be proclaimed in the near future.

(3) Did the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment commit the Australian Government to establishing a national kangaroo monitoring unit to assess population trends following the hearings. Did the Australian Embassy in Washington, in spite of the abovementioned undertakings, recently write to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service stating that no firm date could be given for either the proclamation of the Act or the establishment of the monitoring unit, and does the Australian Government consider that the United States has already received sufficient data on kangaroo management to make a decision on the delisting proposal.

(4) On what date will the Act be proclaimed, in light of the importance given by the United States to the legal enforceability of the Wildlife Protection ( Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982; and if this is not known, what are the reasons for the delay.


Senator Ryan —The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) No. The Australian Government made two major submissions to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service prior to the 6 June hearings. The first submission, dated 10 November 1982, stated that the Wildlife Protection ( Regulation of Exports and Imports) Bill 1982 was introduced into Federal Parliament on 6 May 1982. No date for passage of the Bill was suggested. This submission included, as an appendix, a copy of the national kangaroo management program. The status of this program is made clear in section 3 (Implementation) which lists issues which should be taken into account by Australian wildlife authorities in implementing agreed management objectives.

In a second submission dated 1 June 1983, the Government stated that the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 had been passed by the Parliament and was awaiting proclamation. At the hearing on 6 June 1983, the Australian Government representatives made it clear that this remained the position.

(2) The United States did not express any views at the hearing regarding the importance of the legal enforceability of the Wildlife Protection Act or the national kangaroo management program to the delisting proposal.

In respect of the Wildlife Protection Act, the Australian Government representative at the hearing indicated that as soon as minor adminstrative details and staffing concerns had been dealt with, including the finalization of the Regulations, the Act would be proclaimed.

(3) The Governor-General's speech on 21 April 1983 gave a commitment to establish a national kangaroo monitoring unit.

The Australian Embassy in Washington wrote to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on 4 October 1983 stating that no firm date could be given for the proclamation of the Act or for the monitoring unit; however, since that time , action has been taken to recruit staff for the establishment of the monitoring unit.

The Australian Government considers that sufficient information on kangaroo management has been provided to enable a decision to be made on the delisting proposal. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in the Federal Register of 8 April 1983, notified that it had received sufficient data to warrant removal of the Red, Eastern Grey and Western Grey from its classification as endangered and indicated its proposal to delist these kangaroos.

(4) I am unable to provide a date of proclamation for the Act as the drafting of regulations, including provisions relating to financial aspects, are yet to be finalised.

Discussions regarding enforcement and other adminstrative matters under the Act are continuing between the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Australian Customs Service. Necessary discussions are also being undertaken with the States.

I expect to be in a position to make an announcement regarding proclamation in the near future.