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Media Release

Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald
Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister for the Environment


17 February 1998

The Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment admits he is puzzled over complaints from the North Queensland Conservation Council, (NQCC), regarding the distribution of National Heritage Trust funding.

North Queensland based Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald said the argument that funding had been centred in seats held by the Coalition is a furphy.

"In the north, the criticism has been that all the money has gone to Coalition held seats. Well, the Coalition holds every seat in the north. In Queensland generally it is very hard to find a Labor held seat, so naturally the money goes into Coalition seats," Senator Macdonald said.

"Take, for example, the proposal for the $40 million Cape York strategy. When it was conceived, the seat of Leichhardt was held by the Labor Party. So we cannot be held responsible if people there decided to toss Labor out and put in a Coalition member.

"The principal criticism of conservation groups and the Labor Party is simply illogical and inconsistent."

Senator Macdonald said criticism levelled at the Federal Government for cutting back funding to some conservation groups is also misplaced.

"We still fund the NQCC and Cairns and Far North Environment Center (CAFNEC) and I encourage them to come and talk to me about their concerns," he said.

"A lot of groups in the community are getting involved in the environment and we fund them as well. Many raise money of their own to fund environmental activities.

"We are very happy to continue funding for community groups who are making a positive contribution to the environment."

Commonwealth of Australia