Senate debates

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Questions without Notice


2:53 pm

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the senator for his question. The Gillard government is committed to a thorough environmental assessment under the EPBC Act to ensure that matters of national environmental significance in the Tarkine region are protected. The assessment process under the EPBC Act is rigorous, and there are a number of points at which the public will be invited to comment. Mining and development projects are currently being assessed under the national environmental law in the Tarkine region.

The Australian government has a role in regulating proposals that impact on matters protected by national environmental law, including matters of national environmental significance such as listed threatened species. Only actions which might have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance are required to be referred for approval under national environmental law. Minister Burke is well aware of the issues in the Tarkine. He has been to the Tarkine region on a number of occasions where he met with mining stakeholders, environment groups and tourist operators to better understand the issues before he makes any decisions.

The AWS's campaign was I think mentioned by Senator Abetz, and consideration is being given to the National Heritage values of the Tarkine. National Heritage listing of the Tarkine would not mean an automatic lockout for development or other activities; rather, it would ensure that the Tarkine's heritage values are given appropriate consideration in statutory decision making. If there is anything further, I will take it on notice and see whether the minister has anything further to add.


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