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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 1829

Senator RAE (TASMANIA) - I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Conservation. As the Premier of Tasmania now has turned down the offer of $8m for expenditure on a moratorium on the flooding of Lake Pedder, and as the Minister has displayed such keen interest in the conservation of the environment of Australia's most beautiful State- Tasmania- and further, as it is increasingly and tragically clear that the destruction by pollution of the Derwent and Tamar Rivers and possibly parts of the north-west coast of Tasmania is taking place, will the Minister reconsider the offer and give the Tasmanian Government an opportunity to accept the money to meet the cost of steps necessary to save those rivers and that coastline?

Senator CAVANAGH - I do not think the 2 matters can be considered together. The offer was made, with possibly an open cheque, to enable the Tasmanian Government to have a moratorium and, if necessary, provide an alternative to the Lake Pedder project. This offer was rejected by the State Government much to the concern of the Australian Government. We have no right to force our opinions upon the States in matters over which they have sovereignty. That ends that matter in relation to a grant of money. Now we come to the question of the pollution of the Derwent River. As I stated in a reply earlier today, a standing committee of the Australian Environmental Council is meeting in Canberra today and the Ministers will meet in Hobart on the question of marine pollution. This matter will be considered. If there is a need for the Australian Government to provide finance to combat pollution in rivers, I assure the honourable senator that the interest of the Australian Government is such that separate finance will be made available. But it is not a question of transferring money offered for one project to another project.

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