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Thursday, 6 May 1993
Page: 271


Senator COULTER (3.57 p.m.) —I was not going to speak on this report, but I find the remarks of Senator Macdonald rather hypocritical. On other occasions Senator Macdonald has spoken very strongly in favour of the building of the Tully-Millstream power station; in his speech a few moments ago he talked about the excellent business which has been developed in Cairns for whitewater rafting on the Tully River. This activity, which employs quite a large number of people, will be totally destroyed if that power station is built. Senator Macdonald then went on to say that tourist operators in Cairns are taking visitors from Cairns to experience whitewater rafting in New Guinea. Of course, the reason they have had to use other rivers is that, if he had his way, he would close off this option.

  I have rafted down the Tully River. It is an absolutely magnificent experience and one that should be protected. Quite a large number of people are engaged in giving tourists an experience that they can gain in no other way. People are employed not only to operate the rafting but also to make videos of tourists' experiences and to provide meals and transport. As such, this activity really needs to be looked after. I am really surprised at Senator Macdonald's dissimulation in dealing with this matter.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.