(QldGovSpin) Howard government can't be trusted on reef compensation

Submitted by Editor on Thu, 29/07/2004 - 00:39

The Federal Environment Minister is laying the ground work for the Howard Government to walk away from its full responsibility to compensate people affected by its new reef zones Queensland's Environment Minister, John Mickel, said today.

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Environment, John Mickel
environment@cabinet.qld.gov.au
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28/07/04

"I remind all reef users that the new zones are an initiative of the Howard Government and it is quite properly the Howard Government who should compensate people affected by these zones," Mr Mickel said.

"The Howard Government has said it has a blank cheque but I was alarmed to read today that my Federal counterpart, Senator Ian Campbell, thinks Queensland should pay half that compensation.

"Senator Campbell's comments should send shivers down the spines of people affected by the zonings; I urge them to apply for compensation before it's too late.

"This is the Howard Government at its meanest and trickiest. It says it will compensate people and then when the going gets tough it tries to avoid its responsibilities.

"If they are so intent on passing the buck, they should make sure the bucks are passed to the reef users who are owed compensation as a result of their actions.

"Queensland taxpayers will not pay for a decision which has been made by the Howard Government."

Mr Mickel said claims by the Commonwealth that Queensland did not have to follow its lead on the zonings were wrong.

"At the moment we have two sets of rules covering the same ocean, that is a recipe for chaos.

"The proposed response Queensland has released aims to put Queensland back into synch with the Commonwealth and deliver certainty to reef users."

Mr Mickel said if Senator Campbell was so concerned about governments meeting their responsibilities he should also look at other areas where the Commonwealth is falling short.

"They have not met their responsibilities when it comes to funding World Heritage Areas such as the Wet Tropics and Fraser Island.

"Perhaps while he's here he can reach into his pocket and pass a few bucks round there as well," Mr Mickel said.

Media contact: Anne Syvret 3225 1819

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