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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 3110

(Question No. 394)

Senator Missen asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 20 August 1985:

(1) Is the Attorney-General aware that the Queensland Government's Fraser Island Public Access Act (the Act), scheduled to come into operation on 1 July 1985, contains many alarming provisions including powers for any visitor in the recreation area to be fined or conscripted by any `authorized officer' without any rights of appeal or any explanation, and that the refusal of visitors to comply could lead to very heavy financial penalties and/or banishment from Fraser Island.

(2) Has the Government received complaints from user groups about the terms of the Act.

(3) Will the Human Rights Commission, as a matter of urgency, investigate the legislation and its implications for basic human rights.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) to (3) The Attorney-General is aware of the Act referred to in the honourable senator's question but is not aware of the Government as such having received any complaints about it. I am informed that the Human Rights Commission received a number of complaints but concluded that the Act was not inconsistent with Australia's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In the view of the Commission, the only question of human rights of any significance arising from the passing of this Act related to freedom of movement under Article 12 of the International Covenant. However the Commission concluded that, given the environmental fragility of Fraser Island, it would seem reasonable that some system of control should be placed over the movement of vehicles and people on the island in order to avoid harm to the environment.