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Monday, 27 February 2006
Page: 117

Senator MILNE (9:16 PM) —I want to comment on a couple of matters. When I talked about consultation, I was referring to the fact that the decision whether to issue a permit, lease or licence does not involve collaborative decision making or involvement with those with expertise in ecology; the decision to issue a permit or licence is made by the designated authority, who is the state or territory minister alone. No reference is made to other sectors or agencies. When I was talking about consultation, I was talking about this bill in the context of regional marine planning and the fact that the other agencies that have expertise in these matters over a range of issues are not included and that, ultimately, the minister can decide and will do so as the designated authority.

In terms of consultation, Senator Colbeck listed all of the NGOs, or non-government organisations, which had been consulted in relation to this bill. Perhaps he would like to enlighten the house as to what they said about this bill. Consultation does not mean just asking them, hearing what they have to say and then taking no notice whatsoever. Consultation, if it is genuine, means you incorporate into the bill some of the concerns expressed by the people you have consulted.

Perhaps Senator Colbeck could tell us: what is incorporated into this bill that has come from all of those NGOs who are involved with environmental protection? What did ACF have to say? You have quoted them as one of the groups who have been consulted in relation to this bill. Did they think it was a great bill and had no problems? What did the environment groups have to say about this Offshore Petroleum Bill? Now that you have listed them all, let us hear the comments that they had to make in relation to this bill before you proceed to tell us that you consulted them. You have proceeded anyway. I would suggest that every one of those groups would have drawn your attention to the fact that this legislation does not use the word ‘oceans’ once, does not use the word ‘marine’ once and fails to talk about ecologically sustainable development or ecosystem based management.