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Thursday, 12 September 1996
Page: 3358

Senator CAMPBELL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Sport, Territories and Local Government)(10.03 a.m.) —I seek leave to make a brief statement.

The PRESIDENT —Are you objecting to formality?

Senator CAMPBELL —The government will not be opposing the motion going formal.

Leave granted.

Senator CAMPBELL —I just want to say that the government would be voting against this motion and I will explain our reasons very briefly. In relation to Senator Margetts's motion there are three points to be made. Firstly, the Commonwealth government has absolutely no jurisdiction over this land management decision in Western Australia. In relation to the excision of this area in D'Entrecasteaux National Park, the Western Australian government will be going through a whole environmental impact assessment process involving the Environmental Protection Authority in the instance that mining is proposed. The Commonwealth has absolutely no jurisdiction there. It is possible that, under certain circumstances in the future, the Commonwealth may be required to act. There may be processes that do trigger Commonwealth action on behalf of the Minister for the Environment. That could occur if export licences were sought, for example, and if the Australian Heritage Commission Act came into play.

The second important point to note is that there is multiple use of national parks across Australia. This, of course, is not unusual or specifically a Western Australian phenomenon, as most members of the Senate would know.

The third and final point I would like to make is that Senator Margetts's motion says:

. . . calls on the Federal Government to put into practice the rhetoric that it has used in relation to the Natural Heritage Trust of Australia Bill 1996 . . .

I ask all honourable senators to understand that the government's intention is not to put into practice rhetoric. We are very keen not to put in place the rhetoric of the National Heritage Trust Bill and its funding by the sale of one-third of Telstra. We are, in fact, very keen to urgently put in place the billion dollars plus worth of programs which will make an historic difference, not only to the amount of resources that are going into environmental rehabilitation and conservation, but also, very importantly, in relation to this motion, to increase the cooperation between the two larger levels of state and federal governments which the Natural Heritage Trust Bill will ensure. It will see the biggest increase in cooperation between state and federal governments on a whole range of issues, and vegetation protection within national parks is, of course, a crucial part of that. As I say, we have not opposed formality, but we will be voting against this motion for those reasons.