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

22 December 1999

INCREASED PROTECTION FOR GREAT BARRIER REEF


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says the Howard Government has delivered on its promise to provide greater protection for the Great Barrier Reef, with new restrictions extending bans on mining coming into effect from today.

"Under the changes mining has been banned in the Great Barrier Reef Region, an area which is much larger than the actual Marine Park. The GBR Region covers the entire park and all areas which could be potentially added to it.

"The Great Barrier Reef Region (Prohibition of Mining) Regulations 1999 will give protection to 28 significant areas along the Queensland coast which are not yet in the park," Senator Hill said.

"The previous legislation prohibited all mining in the Marine Park, however in the region it only outlawed drilling for petroleum. The new regulations extend the prohibition of all mining to the entire Great Barrier Reef region.

"Our government has consistently stated that we would never allow mining on the reef or anywhere that would adversely affect the reef.

"These new regulations remove any area of doubt and reassure all Australians that this unique natural wonderland will be safe from mining and drilling.

"Enactment of the regulations gives effect to the Federal Government's policy of providing protection for the Great Barrier Reef, while allowing those uses which are consistent with the conservation of world heritage values such as tourism and sustainable fishing," Senator Hill said.

Media contact: Rod Bruem 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia