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$1 million for improvements to Fraser Island

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Senator the Hon. Robert Hill The Hon. Warren Truss MP

Minister for the Environment Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs

Federal Member for Wide Bay


The Federal Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill, and the Federal Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs and Member for Wide Bay, Mr Warren Truss, announced today that Fraser Island will receive a massive injection o f $1 million to improve visitor infrastructure and enhance the protection o f Fraser Island’s world heritage values.

‘The $1 million will be dedicated to on-ground works that provide a joint benefit - improving the conservation o f Fraser Island’s outstanding values and promoting the development o f a sustainable tourism industry,’ Senator Hill said at the announcement o f the funding.

Mr Truss said that, with around 300,000 visitors a year to Fraser Island, eco-tourism has the potential to support sustainable long-term employment in the local area.

‘But a tourism industry that is sustainable in the long term requires adequate visitor infrastructure. We need to improve the standard o f infrastructure on Fraser Island if we are to ensure the protection o f the Island’s environmental values and a prosperous tourism industry.’

Senator Hill indicated that the $1 million would support urgent capital works to improve tourism management and protect world heritage values.

T intend to ensure the funds support on-ground projects, to address issues such as the impact o f beach camping, improving the management o f the road network, and enhancing camping facilities.’

The $1 million includes $870,000 that is required to be returned by Queensland to the Commonwealth under the terms o f an earlier structural adjustment package and $130,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust.

‘Instead o f returning the $870,000 to the Commonwealth Treasury, the Government has agreed to put it into new works on Fraser Island,’ Senator Hill said.

Under the Coalition, Commonwealth funding toward the management o f Fraser Island has increased dramatically. The previous Labor Government provided $317,000 in 1995/96. A Parliamentary Committee, chaired by Mr Truss, handed down a unanimous, bipartisan report in 1996 which described this as ‘particularly paltry’. In contrast to the Labor Government’s poor

record, the Federal Coalition has now provided more than $2.6 million for Fraser Island management in just over two and a half years.

Senator Hill said he would decide which projects would be funded after considering advice from the Fraser Island Community Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from the local community, conservation groups and the tourism industry, and the Scientific Advisory Committee. Advice would also be received from Fraser Island’s Management Committee, on which the Mayors o f Hervey Bay and Maryborough sit.

Today’s announcement means the Coalition has provided $16.5 million for the management o f Australia’s world heritage areas in 1998/99 (in addition to funding for Kakadu and Uluru Kata- Tjuta National Parks and the Great Barrier R eef Marine Park). The ALP provided only $10.3 million in its last year in office.

Media contact: Atticus Fleming (Senator Hill’s office) 0419 693 987 Andrew Hall (Mr Truss’s office) 07/41236485 0419/996766

11 September 1998