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Tuesday, 11 February 1986
Page: 34


Senator JONES —Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment been drawn to a report in the Brisbane Courier-Mail of 3 February 1986 regarding a letter from Senator Collard, the Opposition's spokesman on the environment, received by Mr John Sinclair, project officer of the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation Ltd? Does this letter indicate that a future Liberal-National Party Federal government would abandon the use of environmental grounds as a basis for imposing export restrictions? In turn, does this virtually give the green light to the resumption of sand mining on Fraser Island? As there has been no official announcement to this effect from members of the Liberal or National parties, would it not be in the public's interest for the Opposition's intentions towards sand mining on Fraser Island to be made known as soon as possible to allow for full public debate?


Senator RYAN —My attention has been drawn to the report referred to in Senator Jones's question, which was a report in the Brisbane Courier-Mail of 3 February in which Mr John Sinclair quoted Senator Collard, the Opposition's environment spokesperson, as saying:

We believe in the necessity to exercise Commonwealth export control powers only on the grounds of national security and where an industry as a whole seeks government assistance.

I think all concerned Australians should be alarmed at the sentiments expressed by Senator Collard as they suggest that the Opposition's environment spokesman is signalling that, if elected to government, a Liberal-National Party government would abandon the use of export licences to control Australia's fragile environment. It is of particular concern when one considers that such a policy will allow for the destruction of the fragile and unique environment of Fraser Island. The Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, Mr Cohen, has clearly and emphatically stated this Government's policy that it will continue to prohibit the export of mineral sands from Fraser Island.