May 1, 2006

Make Antarctica a World Heritage area, not a mine

Make Antarctica a World Heritage area, not a mine


1 May 2006

Labor strongly rejects calls by Senator Barnaby Joyce to “mine Antarctica before another country gets in first”.

Labor supports listing Antarctica as a World Heritage area.

The Howard Government’s silence over Senator Joyce’s comments is of concern. The Prime Minister and Minister for Resources, Ian Macfarlane, must declare their hand.

Labor has always supported the protection of Antarctica. Through the Madrid Protocol in 1991, the Hawke Government played a leading role in imposing a 50-year ban on prospecting, exploration and mining in Antarctica. We supported listing Antarctica as a World Heritage area in the 2004 election.

The enormous frozen continent of Antarctica is an incredibly varied landscape of pack ice, freezing deserts and towering mountain ranges. It is truly unique.

Antarctica’s delicately poised ecosystem is vulnerable to the slightest change and threatened by the onset of climate change.

Antarctica’s amazing wildlife — including penguins, seals, whales and albatrosses — depend for their survival on food from the ocean, a resource that can be upset by over-fishing and climate change.

A Federal Labor Government will support World Heritage listing, working with other nations to give Antarctica the environmental status it deserves.

Antarctica is one of the last unspoiled parts of the planet. It should never be mined.

The privilege Senator Joyce had to visit the unspoilt continent of Antarctica must be available for our children and our grandchildren