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

14 December 1999

BEATTIE MUST COME CLEAN ON TREE CLEARING


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says he's disappointed the Queensland Government is still refusing to provide details to back its claim for $100 million in Commonwealth funding to halt tree clearing.

Senator Hill said the Federal Government had commissioned the Australian Bureau of Agriculture Resource Economics (ABARE) to help calculate accurate details on the effects tree clearing restrictions would have on agricultural production and greenhouse gas emissions.

"Unfortunately the Queensland Premier is refusing to cooperate so it's proving impossible for the Commonwealth to get the information we need to make a proper assessment of his $100 million claim."

Senator Hill said a series of meetings with the Queensland Government began in late September in an effort to obtain the data required by ABARE, while a formal request for the information was sent to the Queensland Government on November 17th.

"Again today we've been assured the information is on its way, but the stonewalling and delays are beyond a joke.

"The Queensland Premier has also failed to reveal exactly how much his Government will be contributing to any compensation package - another very basic detail we need in order to assess his claim.

"Its even more amazing that Mr Beattie has found the time and the money for a million dollar media advertising campaign to promote what, under the circumstances, can only be described as half-baked incomplete reforms.

"It seems Mr Beattie is more interested in presenting a good media image than actually delivering coherent well-though out policy.

"His continuing failure to provide the Commonwealth with the detail we require to assess a compensation package raises the question of whether he really is genuine about assisting Queensland farmers and protecting the environment," Senator Hill said.

Media contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia