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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3134

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) am asked the Minister, representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 19 October 1977:

If, as the Minister told me on 1 1 October 1977 (Hansard, page 1880), it has not been necessary to establish separate consultative mechanisms for each State on pre-school funding since the introduction of block grants to the States on 1 January 1977, why did she tell me as late as 2 June 1977 (Hansard, page 2602) that the form of consultative arrangements had not been finalised in any State.

Mr Hunt - The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question.

Consultative mechanisms have been established in both Territories and are to be established in each State, for both community groups and officials to advise on the entire range of activities under the Children's Services Program.

The honourable member's question of 16 August 1977 concerned consultative arrangements on pre-school funding. The answer I gave to that question is correct.

Decisions on Antarctic Resources (Question Na 1876)

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 20 October 1 977:

What decisions have the 13 members of the Antarctica Treaty Organisation made on the exploitation and/or conservation of the natural resources in the Antarctic, particularly in respect of oil exploration and the harvesting of krill.

Mr Peacock - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The decisions which have been made by the 13 Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties on Antarctic resource questions are contained in separate recommendations on mineral resources and marine living resources adopted by them especially at the Ninth Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in London (29 September-7 October 1977). The recommendations adopted at this meeting include the most important decisions made by the Consultative Parties on exploitation and conservation questions in relation to Antarctica's natural resources.

In the recommendation adopted at the Ninth Consultative Meeting on mineral resources, the Consultative Parties recommended to their Governments that they urge thennationals and other States to refrain from all exploration and exploitation of Antarctic mineral resources, while making progress towards the timely adoption of an agreed regime concerning Antarctic mineral resource activities. The Consultative Parties also recommended that their Governments study the content of a future regime based on principles to be agreed upon, but including the following principles elaborated at the Special Preparatory Meeting on Antarctic minerals exploitation in Paris last year

(i)   the Consultative Parries will continue to play an active and responsible role in dealing with the question of mineral resources of Antarctica;

(ii)   the Antarctic Treaty must be maintained in its entirety;

(iii)   protection of the unique Antarctic environment and of its dependent ecosystems should be a basic consideration;

(iv)   the Consultative Parties, dealing with the question of mineral resources in Antarctica, should not prejudice the interests of all mankind in Antarctica.

The Consultative Parties also recommended to their Governments that they continue to study the environmental implications of mineral resource activities in the Antarctic Treaty area and to hold a meeting of ecological, technical and other related experts with a view to developing scientific programs aimed at improving predictions of the impact of possible technologies for mineral exploration and exploitation in the Antarctic and developing measures for the prevention of damage to the environment.

In the recommendation on marine living resources the Consultative Parties recommended that a definitive regime for their conservation should be concluded before the end of 1978 and that a Special Consultative Meeting be convened in order (a) to determine the form of the definitive regime; (b) to prepare, if necessary, draft rules of procedure for a subsequent decisive meeting for the establishment of the definitive regime; and (c) to decide on participation in such a meeting.

Pending the entry into force of the definitive regime for Antarctic marine living resources, the Consultative Parties recommended to their Governments that they observe the following interim guidelines:

(i)   they cooperate as broadly and comprehensively as possible in the mutual exchange of statistics relating to catch of Antarctic marine living resources;

(ii)   they should show the greatest possible concern and care in the harvesting of Antarctic marine living resources so that it does not result in depletion of stocks of Antarctic marine species or in jeopardising the Antarctic marine ecosystem as a whole;

(iii)   they urge those Governments which are not parties to the Antarctic Treaty and which engage in activities involving the use of the marine living resources of Antarctica to take account of these guidelines.

The Consultative Parties also recommended that their Governments cooperate broadly and comprehensively in scientific investigation and in the exchange of information relating to the Antarctic marine environment, and that they intensify as far as possible scientific research related to Antarctic marine living resources.

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