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

Marine Pollution: the Ugly Tourist

30 April 1997

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has called on the nations of South East Asia to develop a regional action plan to combat land- based marine pollution.

Senator Hill has opened a Regional Workshop for the Global Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land- Based Activities in Cairns.

Senator Hill has told the workshop that marine pollution is an 'ugly tourist'.

"A starting point for policy development is the recognition that land-based sources, such as sewage, oils, nutrients, sediment and litter, are far and away the worst culprit when it comes to marine pollution.

"Land-based pollution accounts for more than 80% of our marine pollution and local pollution can turn into regional problems unless we take action.

"The reality is that my country's pollution needs no visa to visit your country - just a favourable current. It brings plenty of nasty baggage, it's an ugly tourist, and should it choose to settle permanently in your waters, it's nearly impossible to extradite."

Senator Hill says the Howard Government has taken a lead with the development of Australia's first Oceans Policy.

"We are well on the way to developing an integrated Oceans Policy which aims to ensure marine biodiversity is conserved within a multiple-use framework - the policy will treat land- -based marine pollution as one of its highest priorities.

"We also stand ready to assist our neighbours wherever possible in their efforts to prevent land-based marine pollution. Australia is in the position where it can help it's neighbours utilise the latest technology and waste and water management techniques."

Senator Hill has called for a strong regional action plan which includes:

The workshop, hosted by the Australian Government, involves representatives of nine neighbouring South East Asian countries.

Media contact: Matt Brown, 06 277 7640; 0419 693 515

Commonwealth of Australia