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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Announcement of South Australian Heritage Projects under the $650 million Jobs Fund,

Doorstop interview, Adelaide Mosque Adelaide
Subjects: $1.5 million investment in South Australian heritage places; Wellington Weir; Arkaroola mining lease; Southern blue fin tuna; President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize; Liberal Party positions on climate change
10 October 2009

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Garrett: Thanks for coming down to this really important Adelaide City Mosque this morning as we announce a further round of support for heritage projects under the Government's Jobs Fund. I am really pleased that we are able to recognise the distinctive contribution that the Islamic community, through this mosque, has made. This is an important building not only for the community itself but also for the cultural heritage and history of South Australia.

And we have announced a series of other grants as well to support heritage projects around the state, importantly to ensure that there is local employment benefits, the use of local materials and skills where possible and to continue the stimulus investment that this Government has brought forward in order for us in this country, to be able to weather satisfactorily the global financial crisis.

Journalist: Minister, on the issue of the Wellington Weir I understand you are due to make a decision by Monday? Have you made that decision and can you tell us what it is?

Garrett: Look I am still giving some thought as to whether there is additional information that I might require prior to making that decision. I understand what the timeline is. I do expect to make the decision by Monday but at this point in time I am just giving some thought to whether there are any additional pieces of information that I need prior to making that decision.

Journalist: Mr Garrett, the State Government has just renewed a Marathon Resources mining licence for Arkaroola. Are you going to overturn that, I mean it's got serious environmental consequences?

Garrett: As with any proposals that come through to me we will look at them very carefully and we will give them really significant scrutiny.

I am aware that there is some debate around this particular project, there quite often is around projects of this kind. My task will be to make sure that I get the best scientific advice and make a decision fully cognisant of the responsibilities I have as Environment Minister, setting the bar high for environment protection consistent with the regulations and the Act.

Journalist: Also yesterday the fisheries department released a report that indicates that blue fin tuna are being overfished and the Greens are calling for the quota to be reduced. Is this something that Government will consider?

Garrett: Look there are due to be a round of negotiations in the multi-lateral body that deals with the Southern blue-fin tuna. I certainly recognise that that particular fish stock is showing signs of considerable diminishing. That is a matter of concern for the Government and we will go into those multi-lateral negotiations very mindful of the situation that is being faced by those fish in the Southern Ocean.

Journalist: Minister, President Obama awarded the Nobel Peace Prize do you have any comment to make on that particular award?

Garrett: I think it is a fantastic event that we now have President Obama in receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. It says that there is great hope in this American leadership to resolve some of the really significant issues that the world faces, particularly issues of conflict in the Middle East, especially.

I know that the President made a remark to the effect that he has, you know, got work to do. I think we all want that work to happen successfully and I am sure that everybody will be wanting to provide President Obama with all the support now that he has received this incredible Nobel Peace Prize and particularly when it comes to the efforts that we in Australia believe are necessary in the run up to the Copenhagen negotiation on climate change.

I will make one remark about climate change, it is simply this: Malcolm Turnbull is on his way to Western Australia when the chronic divisions in the Liberal Party are more evident than ever before. And it will be important for Mr Turnbull to be fair dinkum about his approach on this issue, to enter into good faith negotiations with the Government and not allow for tricky procedures in the Senate to delay any vote on this important issue.

The division that we have seen in the Liberal Party over the past month on climate change is unparalleled. It shows that they are still completely unable to get their act together on this issue. It is time for Mr Turnbull not only to show some leadership but to make sure that he is fair dinkum in his negotiations, bring this rabble to account and come and negotiate in good faith with the Government. Don't propose ambit claims and don't allow a series of tricky manoeuvres in the Senate to delay an important vote on this issue.

Thanks everyone.


Commonwealth of Australia