Senate debates

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


Gardens of Stone

3:40 pm

Photo of Lee RhiannonLee Rhiannon (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Gardens of Stone in New South Wales and adjacent Ben Bullen, Newnes and Wolgan State Forests are spectacular landscapes that are habitats for many plants and wildlife, including national and state-listed threatened species,

(ii) in October 2014 the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission found that the pagoda landforms in that area should be afforded special significance status and the highest possible level of protection, and

(iii) the Gardens of Stone and adjacent areas continue to be threatened by open cut and longwall mining proposals and will continue to be vulnerable to mining impacts until permanent protection is granted; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to support the call for the New South Wales State Government to extend national parks protection for the Gardens of Stone stage two reserve proposal.

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Gavin MarshallGavin Marshall (Victoria, Deputy-President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

The designations of national parks is wholly a matter for state governments and the Greens need to stop wasting the Senate's time with matters that are outside the Australian government's jurisdiction, particularly for areas that are already afforded the highest level of protection under national environmental law. In fact, the Greater Blue Mountains area was listed as a World Heritage property in 2000 and contains the Gardens of Stone referred to by the Greens motion. Any proposed development that is likely to have a significant impact on the outstanding universal value of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area must be assessed under the EPBC Act. In fact, Cullen Valley Mine, which was subject to the Planning Assessment Commission report, was referred to the Minister for the Environment for assessment in January 2015. This will be considered within the strict requirements of national environmental law. The Australian government will continue to focus on issues within its jurisdiction instead of interfering with state governments.

The PRESIDENT: The question is that notice of motion No. 590 standing in the name of Senator Rhiannon be agreed to.