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Transcript
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

10 June, 2005
Interview on 3AW with Neil Mitchell

Emergency Heritage Listing for Alpine National Park in Victoria


Presenter:
We've just made contact with him, the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, good morning.

Senator Campbell:
Good morning.

Presenter:
What does the listing mean?

Senator Campbell:
Well, the listing means that we now go - this is the emergency listing - we now go into a formal listing process. The listing is to protect, as the previous caller just said, these natural and heritage values. There's no doubt from all the evidence I've read, first in my previous assessment of this when we looked at the emergency heritage listing earlier in the year and reading it overnight and this morning, that there are significant environmental values and equally significant heritage values. And I think what we're really saying to the people of Australia who all have an interest in this is that there is a sensible way through this. You can, using modern management techniques and better investments, protect the environmental values that also ensure that this iconic Australian activity continues for generations to come.

Presenter:
So does this mean unequivocally that the mountain cattlemen can continue to graze?

Senator Campbell:
Well, I've heard John Thwaites say he's going to take this to court and he's got legal advice and so forth; I hope it doesn't need to get to that. This is the Federal Law saying that this is an iconic part of Australian heritage; that it needs to be protected. Ultimately I hope the Victorian Government don't want to have to go to further taxpayers' expense with more costs on the Victorian taxpayers' by doing that. I think ...

Presenter:
Well, we'll be talking to John Thwaites in a moment but he's made it pretty clear that the government is going to fight it. What does that end up? Is that then a battle about federal and state powers?

Senator Campbell:
Well, all it means is that the lawyers do really well, the cattlemen lose, Australia loses. And what I want to work out with John is a way of saying 'well, let's create a win-win, let's see if we can maintain this grazing, let's do it in a modern way, let's do it in a sophisticated way, let's invest some money in it'. I think the other thing we can do is work together with the Victorian Government, if they want to be constructive about this, is that we can progress the heritage listing of the whole Alpine National Park region across NSW and the ACT and then work together with all the four governments involved to progress the World Heritage Listing. And I think that a special feature of that World Heritage Listing is this incredible association of mountain cattle grazing, the Man From Snowy River legend as well as the very important environmental aspects of that greater Alpine National Park.

Presenter:
Why are you taking a stand here? Is it not correct that grazing has been banned in most Alpine National Parks around the other states?

Senator Campbell:
It has in other, it has in some, but I don't know whether they were the right decisions. I think that you destroy this part of Australian heritage at a great cost to Australia. It's a living part of our history, it's been handed on to generation to generation. You've got to remember that these parks have had this sort of grazing happen for 170 years and they are in still very good condition. The biggest threat to these parks has, of course, been fire in the past. The mountain cattlemen are, you know, they're the people on the ground. Can I also say, Neil, that multiple-use of very important heritage areas and environment areas is part of management across the world. The Great Barrier Reef is arguably one of the great environmental zones in the world and we've just increased protection of it from four per cent of the reefs up to 33 per cent - a massive conservation effort - but we've done it in a way that allows tourism to take place there, it allows fishing - both recreation and trawling - it's a multiple use park. To say that you've got to just ban something: I think it's a pretty lazy option, to be frank. I think that we've just got to work a bit harder, probably spend a lot more money. The Commonwealth can back up this sort of multiple-use with further investment if the Victorian Government wants to come to the party.

Presenter:
Okay, so does this the mean the mountain cattlemen have won or is it just the beginning, do you think?

Senator Campbell:
Look, this is one step in the process, Neil. I don't want to over-sell it or over play it. I mean the Victorian Government have said they've got legal advice saying that we can't force them to issue these licences. My advice is that they're refusing to issue the licences is because of this emergency listing and it will have an impact on the heritage of Australia. So there could be a legal clash between Commonwealth and State law but really I don't want it to get to that. What I want to get to is a sensible solution ...

Presenter:
... But you're willing to fight it through legally, aren't you?

Senator Campbell:
We have to be, yes, we've got to stand up for this; it's a part of Australian heritage. I've found that under the emergency heritage listing, the Australian Heritage Council will now look at the 40-day process to do a formal assessment of the value and that's the next step in the process. We'll see, that'll just be in a month or so time.

Presenter:
Thank you for speaking to us, Senator Ian Campbell, the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage.

Ends

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