Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Bob Debus will be missed

“When Minister Debus leaves in March 2007 he could leave a big hole in the Iemma Government as far as environment policy is concerned.  There is no substitute for experience and we hope that Mr Debus moves into Federal politics to advance the cause of protecting the environment, particularly on curbing climate change” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Just holding the job of Environment Minister in a changing political environment is testing enough.  After Bob Carr left, Mr Debus won the trust of Premier Morris Iemma on important environmental issues, such as expanding marine parks,” he said.

“In his seven years as Environment Minister Mr Debus greatly expanded the wilderness estate to 1.8 million hectares and secured World Heritage listing for the Blue Mountains.

“Mr Debus has made some tough calls, such as reserving the Grose Wilderness – birthplace of the modern conservation movement, against vocal opposition in his own electorate of the Blue Mountains.  It was the right call, his vote went up, when many predicted it would go down.

“Mr Debus should finish with a bang.  There are still many environmental issues to address, including a number of unprotected wilderness areas, such as Yengo near the Hunter Valley.  Further protection of the Gardens of Stone area near Lithgow would also be a significant advance,” Mr Muir said.

“He will be missed and we hope that his replacement will make continued efforts toward a more environmentally sustainable society, a task that is getting harder every single day”, Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)