West Australian - April 12, 2003


Marine chief under pressure

Tony Barrass

ENVIRONMENT Minister Judy Edwards faces mounting pressure to stand down Marine Parks and Reserve Authority chairman Barry Wilson.

Opposition Upper House leader Norman Moore claimed in State Parliament that Dr Wilson, already sidelined from the Government's Mauds Landing assessment because of his position with a company opposed to the project, may have leaked sensitive information.

Mr Moore said separate letters from the authority and the Save Ningaloo campaign received by the developers on the same day were almost identical.

He believed Dr Wilson had given the campaign "detailed information from within a government agency".

Dr Wilson is a director of Australian Wildlife Conservancy which opposes the Mauds Landing development and wants to create a much smaller eco-tourism facility on the 25 per cent of Ningaloo Station it owns.

He is currently overseas and despite numerous attempts by The West Australian could not be contacted yesterday. He has previously denied any impropriety.

A spokesman for Dr Edwards said last night: "All members of the authority's board are bound by a code of conduct which I expect to be complied with at all times. Advice from the MPRA has not been formally released to the public and I will be seeking further information from Dr Wilson when he returns from holidays."

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