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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5477


Senator BELL (2.18 a.m.) —by leave—I move:

1.  Clause 4, page 3, subclause (1), after definition of `officer', insert the following definition:

  `"principles of ecologically sustainable development"   means:

  (a) to enhance individual and community well-being and welfare by following a path of economic development that `Safeguards the interests of future generations;

  (b)to provide for equity within and between generations;

  (c)to maintain biological diversity and ecological processes and systems;

  (d)to recognise the global dimension; and

  (e)to give effect to the precautionary principle by adopting an anticipatory and cautious approach to policy development and decision-making.'

2.  Clause 14, page 8, line 36, omit `12', substitute `14'.

3.  Clause 14, page 9, subclause (4), lines 1 to 3, omit the subclause, substitute the following subclause.:

  `(4) Three members (other than a member mentioned in subsection (6)) are to be persons with experience in, or special knowledge of, natural resources management including conservation, vegetation management, environment protection and community organisation.'

I will not waste the time of the Committee by reading the details of the amendments. I will describe briefly their purpose. We have, over some considerable time, been informed about the Government's development of and interest in the national strategy for ecologically sustainable development. We have been presented with any number of opinions about this, and we have, during that process, heard a number of people attempting to define ESD. We have received, as a result of the considerable amount of time spent on it, the statement of Australia's goal, objectives and guiding principles for the ESD strategy.

  Without listing the goal, the core objectives or the guiding principles in order, I would just like to remind the Senate of what the goal has been stated to be. It is: development that improves the total quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends. To meet that goal, one of the changes to government institutions and machinery which has been recognised by this Government is a commitment. Quite blatantly, in black and white, that commitment states:

The Commonwealth Government will:

  incorporate ESD principles into the objectives of relevant

  legislation as appropriate, particularly for legislation concerning

  natural resources use and management.

Here it is—the Natural Resources Management (Financial Assistance) Bill 1992. The opportunity is here, so let us see it being incorporated. It is provided by the generosity of the Australian Democrats. It remains within the capacity of the Government to accept that and to recognise that here is the opportunity to deliver on that promise.

  The other part of our amendments is quite simply a matter of recognising the need, as I indicated in my contribution to the second reading debate, to ensure that the advisory committee which is to be constituted under this legislation actually takes account of the experience which exists in the community and elects to that committee people with sufficient experience in or knowledge of natural resources management including conservation, vegetation management, environment protection and community organisations.