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Thursday, 10 November 2011
Page: 8815


Senator WATERS (Queensland) (12:06): I move:

That the Senate—

(a)   notes:

   (i)   that the Government and the Opposition did not support the Australian Greens' motion on 9 November 2011 that 'all applications and approvals made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 [the Act] which would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to be suspended until the conclusion of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO] requested strategic assessment, to allow consideration of all cumulative impacts of coal and coal seam gas ports and other developments on this internationally-significant biodiversity icon',

   (ii)   the comments by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (Mr Burke) on Four Corners on Monday, 7 November 2011, that he would 'prefer a situation where as much as possible is able to be dealt with once we've concluded the strategic assessment, but people have legal rights under law to commence the process and those processes continue in the interim', and

   (iii)   the Act already provides a suspension process for applications and approvals in particular circumstances and a revocation process for approvals in particular circumstances, both without compensation rights flowing to the proponent; and

(b)   calls on the Government to:

   (i)   confirm that sections 130(5), 132, 144 and 145 of the Act allow the Minister to suspend all applications and approvals made under the Act that would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area until the conclusion of the UNESCO requested strategic assessment, and

   (ii)   if necessary, urgently amend the Act to confer on the Minister the power to suspend all applications and approvals made under the Act that would have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area until the conclusion of the UNESCO requested strategic assessment, to allow that strategic assessment to properly consider all cumulative impacts of coal and coal seam gas ports and other developments on this internationally-significant biodiversity icon.

Question put.

The Senate divided. [12:07]

(The President—Senator Hogg)

Question negatived.