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Senator Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Media Release

Greater Cooperation Between Government and the Petroleum Industry to Manage World's Largest Marine Zone

23 April 1996

The Federal Government and Australia's peak petroleum industry body have signed an important agreement to promote cooperation in the conservation of Australia's vast marine environment.

The Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, and the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Robert Parer, announced the agreement today.

The agreement, between the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency (ANCA), enhances the prospects for better cooperation in the research, monitoring and management of Australia's marine wildlife and significant marine resources.

"Australia's international responsibility to manage an area of 14 million square kilometres of ocean, known as the Exclusive Economic Zone, means we must develop mechanisms that harmonise marine conservation values with industry development," Senator Hill said.

"The zone is an area of profound economic importance to Australia with the potential to contribute between fifty and eighty billion dollars annually to the national economy within 25 years.

"Marine industries such as oil, gas, fisheries and tourism have the potential for substantial growth, but we must ensure that we understand our oceans well enough to manage this expansion.

"Strategic alliances with industry will allow us to understand and cooperatively manage the marine environment in an ecologically sustainable way. Therefore it is encouraging to see the petroleum industry agreeing to actively cooperate in this process," Senator Hill said.

Senator Parer said that under the agreement, ANCA and APPEA will exchange information on their current and proposed activities which may have an impact on the other party.

"This information will include APPEA's annual list of proposed exploration and production development projects and any regulatory changes or new marine reserves that ANCA may be proposing.

"Each party will also look to identify areas for the joint development and management of research projects," Senator Parer said.

Regular meetings will be held with a view to developing a better understanding of respective needs and ways in which the health and diversity of marine environment can be better protected.

The Exclusive Economic Zone was proclaimed in November, 1994. Australia is responsible for its management under the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea.

Matt Brown, Senator Hill's Office, 06 277 7640 ; 0419 693 515
Peter Woods, ANCA, 06 250 0345
Bob Baudino, Senator Parer's Office, 06 277 7440
Dick Wells, APPEA, 06 247 0960
Commonwealth of Australia