Australia's adoption of international obligations to better protect Antarctica's environment is a welcome step, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
"I congratulate the Gillard government," Senator Brown said. "While the Madrid Protocol has proved an outstanding international agreement in protecting Antarctica's environment from mining, other threats abound now and will in the future."
"The Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Amendment Bill 2011 introduced in the House today will help stem the damage caused by unregulated tourism by limiting numbers and movement of people and will also set up a fund for emergency responses to environmental problems."
"I spoke to US President Obama when he was in Australia about my desire to see Antarctica receive World Heritage protection," Senator Brown said.
"This is something I have been working towards for many years. In fact, in 1990 I met then US President George Bush senior and asked him to consider making Antarctica a World Park."
"Next year, when the Antarctic Treaty Meeting is held in Hobart to commemorate 100 years of Antarctic exploration, I hope to see some recognition that a World Heritage nomination would cement Antarctica's place as the world's last great wilderness."