12 February 2008
Extension of the Torres Strait Mining Moratorium
In Canberra yesterday, I exchanged letters with my PNG counterpart Sam Abal to extend the moratorium on mining and drilling in the Torres Strait for an indefinite period.
This is a major step in protecting the fragile environment of the Torres Strait and the way of life of its traditional inhabitants.
Established in 1985 by the Torres Strait Treaty, the moratorium prohibits mining or drilling of the seabed or the subsoil in the Torres Strait Protected Zone (TSPZ). The moratorium enjoys strong support among traditional inhabitants in the Torres Strait.
Initially in place for ten years, the moratorium has previously been extended on three occasions. In January 2008, the Australian Government proposed to the Government of Papua New Guinea that it be extended indefinitely, rather than for a fixed term.
I am very pleased that the Government of Papua New Guinea has agreed to this.
The TSPZ was established by the Treaty to protect the traditional way of life and livelihood of the Torres Strait’s traditional inhabitants, and protect and preserve the marine environment and indigenous fauna and flora.
The TSPZ comprises 13 inhabited Australian islands in the Torres Strait, and adjacent waters in Australia and PNG.
- Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500
- Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555