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The way forward for the Australian environment on World Environment Day.

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C:\WINDOWS\TEMP\020604 - THOMSON - The way forward for the Australian Environment on World Environment Day.doc 05/06/2002 3:31 PM

KELVIN THOMSONMedia Release from the Shadow Minister for Environment & Heritage The Way Forward for the Australian Environment on World Environment Day

World Environment Day offers an opportunity for John Howard to deliver on his rhetoric. There is a way forward for the Australian Environment - and its time to act!

Spend the money on environment that you promise

Howard Government Ministers constantly make extravagant claims about their environment spending. Senator Robert Hill last year said “we have boosted spending on the environment to record levels” and “in terms of dollars invested in environmental works, John Howard is arguably Australia’s greenest-ever Prime Minister.”

This year Dr. Kemp claimed, “this is the greenest budget ever delivered by the greenest Australian government in history”.

What they don’t tell you is that year in, year out, the actual expenditure falls far short of the allocation. The money simply doesn’t get spent, and is rolled over into next year’s allocation to back up fresh extravagant and untrue claims about the Liberal Government’s environmental bona fides. Less rhetoric and more spending please!

Ratify the Kyoto Protocol

Japan agreed to ratify Kyoto yesterday. The European Union signed on 31 May. 71 countries have now ratified the Kyoto Protocol. This is a clear signal that the Kyoto Protocol, with its legally binding targets and timetables, is the only effective international framework for combating global warming.

Ratification of the Protocol will also enable Australian business to participate in international emissions trading and carbon credits based activities. Failure to ratify runs the risk of leaving Australian business behind. Stop procrastinating and ratify!

Put an end to landclearing

The Government’s response to landclearing is failing, according to the 2001 State of the Environment Report. Unless we control landclearing now, we will face increasing salinity, increased greenhouse gas emissions and the extinction of a range of native birds, plants and animals.

Stop blaming the states for the problem. Planting trees with programs like the Natural Heritage Trust is all very well, but at for every tree planted under the NHT, some 100 get bulldozed. Halt indiscriminate landclearing now!

Wednesday 5 June 2002

C:\WINDOWS\TEMP\020604 - THOMSON - The way forward for the Australian Environment on World Environment Day.doc 05/06/2002 3:31 PM

Protect the Great Barrier Reef once and for all.

The Government is currently assessing a proposal for seismic exploration just 50 km from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with the prospect of future drilling for oil.

The Government must extend the boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Region to effectively banning oil exploration and drilling both on and off the Reef once and for all!

The world’s most comprehensive survey of coral bleaching undertaken has found that bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef is the worst on record. This must act as a wake up call to all Australians on the need for urgent action to address climate change.

This is some of the clearest evidence yet that the Howard Government must change its position and ratify the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.

The Commonwealth has legal obligations to protect the Great Barrier Reef, both as a party to the World Heritage Convention and under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Yet the Howard Government is sitting on its hands while the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world, continues to deteriorate.

For Further Information: Kelvin Thomson MP Phone: 03 9350 5777 Mobile: 0419 594882 Gavan O’Neill Phone: 03 9350 5777 Mobile: 0417 118146