(QldGovSpin) Reef protection stars at international conference

Submitted by Editor on Wed, 25/08/2004 - 17:01

Maritime Safety Queensland is set to attract world-wide attention today when their anti-pollution strategies to protect the Great Barrier Reef and other waterways are showcased to an international audience at Brisbane's Spillcon 2004.

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Transport & Main Roads, Paul Lucas
transport@cabinet.qld.gov.au
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24/08/04

Transport Minister Paul Lucas said international experts would be attending Spillcon 2004 to share their views about marine pollution prevention and response.

"More than 250 delegates will attend the week-long Spillcon conference, which began yesterday at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday 23 August," Mr Lucas said.

"It's held every two years and organised by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Australian Institute of petroleum, which Maritime Safety Queensland and the Port of Brisbane Corporation also supports.

"On a state level, Maritime Safety Queensland is committed to providing the highest level of prevention and response capability against marine pollution in all those waters and I'm delighted we'll be showcasing our works at this year's Spillcon 2004.

"There is of course one obvious major reason for this: our obligation to protect one of the world's great wonders, the Great Barrier Reef.

"Queensland has more than 7000 kilometres of coastline extending from the New South Wales border to Cape York and across the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Northern Territory.

"So a marine incident in this region is our worst nightmare.

"MSQ works with port authorities and a range of other organisations, as well as industry, to ensure a high level of preparedness.

"The Beattie Government appreciates the importance of the research, training and preparation that the agency Maritime Safety Queensland undertakes in order to be ready for a rapid response to any pollution threat or incident. "

Mr Lucas said a mock exercise involving the full-scale deployment of oil spill response equipment will take place at 10.30am on Wednesday 25 August at the South Brisbane reach of the Brisbane River.

Maritime Safety Queensland and other agencies will also publicly display their capabilities.

They will participate in the "National Plan", a model for co-operative partnership between Commonwealth and state maritime agencies and industry for the response to marine pollution incidents.

Mr Lucas said Maritime Safety Queensland made preventative strategies a priority, as well as carrying out comprehensive training and education programs.

"The Beattie Government also fully supports Maritime Safety Queensland's encouragement of emerging technology to minimise the human element in incidents," Mr Lucas said.

Maritime Safety Queensland and its federal counterpart, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, have collaborated on the introduction into Queensland of an Automatic Identification System used by ships to avoid collisions. The two organisations are also campaigning for compulsory coastal marine pilotage in Torres Strait.

Media Contact: Sonya Gillece 3237 1942 / 0407 131 654

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