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Democrats encourage Minister to go all the way: first steps taken towards stopping oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef.

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Senator Andrew Bartlett Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Environment

Press Release Dated: 30 Jan 2001 Press Release Number: 01/47 Portfolio: Environment 

Democrats encourage Minister to go all the way: First step taken towards stopping oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef The Australian Democrats see today's decision by Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill, to make a proposal for seismic testing 50km outside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area a 'controlled action' as the first step toward stopping oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef.

“This will set a precedent on resource exploration on the Great Barrier Reef if the proposal does go ahead,” said Queensland Senator and Democrats’ environment spokesperson, Andrew Bartlett.

Senator Bartlett had written to Minister Hill urging him to declare the seismic testing as a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Senator Bartlett said the new laws, which were negotiated with the Democrats two years ago, offered more effective environmental protection.

The Minister will now have to decide what method of assessment the proposal has to go through. Senator Bartlett's letter to the Minister requested that it be done through an environmental impact statement (EIS).

“The new federal environment laws are powerful tools if Minister Hill chooses to use them. A few years ago the decision would have been made behind closed doors by the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, with less consideration of the environmental impact,” said Senator Bartlett.

“With the evidence of an EIS and consideration of community views, the Environment Minister can make an informed decision on the risk to this world heritage area and the species that inhabit it.

“Instead of having to wait until damage is already occurring in a world heritage area, the federal Minister will now be able to prevent a development or action if it is likely to have significant impact.

“If testing goes ahead and substantial petroleum deposits are

found, industry will be falling over themselves to start drilling just outside the World Heritage Area,” he said.

“The Democrats will do whatever it takes to prevent drilling in the Great Barrier Reef area.”


Top | Email | Tell us what you think Authorised by: Jim Downey, 10 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2604. Copyright © 2001 Australian Democrats Last modified: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:51:26 Today: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 13:09:04