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Tuesday, 11 February 1986
Page: 115

(Question No. 655)

Senator Sanders asked the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, upon notice, on 6 November 1985:

(1) Is the Federal Government going to implement the recommendations of its Rainforest Working Group Report, and will finance be made available for the acquisition of the key endangered rainforest areas, as outlined in the Report.

(2) When is the Government going to nominate the rainforests for World Heritage Listing as there are only 77 days left for World Heritage Listing this year.

(3) Will the Government act as a matter of urgency to save the last virgin stands of rainforest.

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

(1) The Working Group on Rainforest Conservation recommended a comprehensive and flexible range of measures that the Government could take in conjunction with the States and the Northern Territory to promote rainforest conservation. Acquisition of key areas of privately owned rainforest and action to promote the preservation of key virgin rainforest form part of the recommended measures. The Government shortly will consider proposals for rainforest conservation, based on the Working Group Report and public comments on it.

(2) The Government has already conveyed to UNESCO in Paris a nomination for World Heritage listing of the New South Wales rainforests. The Government has made it clear that the wet tropic rainforests of north-east Queensland will only be nominated for inclusion on the World Heritage List with the agreement of the Queensland Government. The Government is of the view that a co-operative, not confrontationist, approach is the best way of conserving Australia's rainforest resources. The co-operation achieved with the Queensland Government in the preparation of the Working Group Report is an indication of the fruitfulness of that approach.

(3) When the Government has considered what actions it will take to protect Australia's remaining rainforest the decision will be announced publicly.