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

Emergency National Heritage Listing of the Tarkine; World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) report; Australian delegation to Copenhagen meeting

E&OE transcript
Doorstop Interview, Bureau of Meteorology Regional Office
11 December 2009

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JOURNALIST: You've listed the Tarkine on the Heritage List today. What impact is that going to have on forestry in that area?

GARRETT: My emergency listing of the Tarkine won't have any impact on forest activities, but what it will mean is that we now have the National Heritage values of the Tarkine that can be considered by me in the referral of this road - for whether or not this road should or shouldn't go ahead and, if so, under what conditions.

So this gives me an opportunity to make sure that the heritage values of the Tarkine are considered as we look at the proposed road construction that is in front of us from the Tasmanian Government.

JOURNALIST: What prompted that decision today?

GARRETT: We received a proposal that the Tarkine go onto the emergency list. I think it is appropriate for the Tarkine to go onto that emergency list. This will mean that the National Heritage Council can get on with the work of assessing the Tarkine. But it means, as well, that when we look at the proposed road that the Tasmanian Government wants to build in the Tarkine region, that we actually have the heritage values of the Tarkine as one of the matters to be considered.

I think that that is important because the Tarkine is our largest cool temperate rainforest area. It has got very high wilderness values. It has got extraordinary intact ecosystems. It has clearly got values there that may be deserving of recognition on the list. Therefore, this emergency listing means that we can consider them.

JOURNALIST: There has been a WMO report released this week which has been fairly damning, paints a grim picture of Australia's climate - the hottest six months on record this year and also rising sea levels due to the loss of sea ice. What implications is that going to have for Australia's love affair of the coast? And do we need to act immediately based on that report?

GARRETT: The recent reports about the increase in temperatures and potential sea level rises confirm again how important it is for us that we take decisive action on climate change. How important the Copenhagen meeting is. How important a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is for this country. And that has again been made very, very clear by these reports earlier this week.

JOURNALIST: It has also been revealed today that the Prime Minister will be taking 113 people with him to Copenhagen. Is that a realistic amount of people given that the UK is taking less than 80?

GARRETT: Those lists that were in the media this morning about the Australian delegation to Copenhagen include a lot of people who aren't a part of the Prime Minister's delegation at all - there are state officials, state premiers are going, officials from the local embassies and the like.

I think if you look closely at those figures you will see the number is much, much less than that. It is entirely appropriate that Australia have a solid delegation in Copenhagen. This is an important meeting but those figures that we have seen this morning don't represent what the Prime Minister is taking, they represent the entire Australian delegation including a number of state governments, officials from other departments and the like.

JOURNALIST: Isn't it a huge carbon footprint that they will taking with them whether they are from the government's department or other departments?

GARRETT: The Department of Climate Change offset their carbon footprint at meetings of this kind, and it is entirely appropriate for us a good and solid representation at this very, very important climate change meeting.

[ENDS]

Commonwealth of Australia