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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
12 August 2004
The future protection of the Great Barrier Reef is in doubt under a Labor Government.
The Labor candidate for Hinkler has attacked the Minister for confirming the Australian Government won't re-open the internationally acclaimed re-zoning plan for the reef.
It is clearly Labor's secret plan exposed - to re-open the RAP.
But they are doing their best to hide it.
Just last week, Labor's Environment spokesman, Kelvin Thomson, confirmed the ALP would "Extend the Great Barrier Reef region out to Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone boundary."
Well which one is it ?
It seems nobody in Labor knows.
Worse still, nobody in north Queensland or the rest of Australia knows.
Labor has one message for the green movement in Canberra, and one for the fisherman in Queensland.
So where does Mark Latham stand ?
This should be above politics. It's about protecting our greatest natural asset. That's exactly what has happened under the leadership of the Howard Government.
From the 1 st July this year, protection of the reef increased six fold to one of the largest marine parks in the world.
This will ensure the reef remains great for all future generations.
At no time did the Commonwealth request Premier Peter Beattie or Minister John Mickel take any action whatsoever within Queensland waters to "mirror" the Commonwealth's recent rezoning plan.
I have written to the Queensland Government and asked them to match the Commonwealth's structural adjustment package. They have refused that financial support to the fisherman.
To back up the Australian Government's new zoning plan, we have other strategies in place to maintain the health and resilience of the reef through initiatives like the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan, an improved framework for tourism management and arrangements for more sustainable commercial fishing.
On my recent visit up and down the coast, I met with all the relevant parties and listened to every one of their concerns.
We have agreed to extend the deadline for fisherman to submit tenders until the 18 th October.
We are still consulting widely to ensure that everyone is treated appropriately, and that the package is fair and equitable.
Labor should not only learn to listen to the people concerned, but listen to each other.