19th February 2007

Member for Warrego Howard Hobbs today labeled the call by the Humane Society International (HIS) for the Paroo River to be protected first by the Australian Heritage Council (AHC) as rubbish and Mr Hobbs said any protection should be based on peer reviewed science.

“I have written to the former Minister for Environment and Heritage, Hon Ian Campbell asking that private landowners in the Paroo catchment be consulted on any proposals by the AHC which might impact upon their rights and all science be fully peer reviewed before any decisions are made,” Mr Hobbs said.

“I have also pointed out to the Minister that the Paroo catchment has not been a pristine wetland, abundant with bird and aquatic life, as the area has been in Exceptional Circumstances drought for the last four years,” Mr Hobbs said.

“In fact the assumptions by the Humane Society could not be further from the truth. They (HIS) should get out of their ivory towers more often,” Mr Hobbs said.

“If the Society are serious conservationists they should be talking about the facts and getting the scientists together, not just calling for a listing of a catchment for the sake of listing a catchment first,” Mr Hobbs said.

Mr Hobbs said the Minister has advised him that in accordance with the Environment and Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 he (the Minister) has asked the AHC to provide him with a heritage assessment of the Paroo River.

“The Council will then advise the Minister whether the Paroo River Catchment Area meets any of the National Heritage criteria.”

“If the Council decides during the assessment process that a nominated place might have National Heritage values, then it must advise and invite comments from all owners, occupiers and Indigenous people with a right or interest in the place,” Mr Hobbs said.

“The Minister then makes the decision on whether to include the Paroo River Catchment Area in the National Heritage List after he receives the Council’s report,” Mr Hobbs said.

Mr Hobbs said he urged anyone with an interest in the Paroo River to write to current Minister Hon Malcolm Turnbull explaining their concerns.

Media contact: Howard Hobbs 46 22 88 88