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Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Page: 1484


Senator CHRIS EVANS (Western AustraliaMinister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (12:56): by leave—I move government amendments (1) to (3) on sheet CN227:

(1)   Clause 17, page 18 (line 26), at the end of subclause (1), add “or (4)”.

(2)   Clause 17, page 18 (line 29), after “14(2)” insert “or (4)”.

(3)   Clause 17, page 19 (lines 2 and 3), omit “that was, immediately before the revocation, the selected site”, substitute “that was the subject of the revoked declaration”.

These amendments relate to the revocation of the minister's declaration. By way of background, the bill currently provides that the minister may declare a volunteered site as the site for a radioactive waste management facility. A declaration has the effect of acquiring any rights or interests in the selected site to construct and operate a radioactive waste management facility on that site subject to environmental and regulatory approvals.

The minister may also make a similar declaration for the purposes of acquiring all-weather road access to the site. Clause 17 provides that the minister may revoke a declaration to acquire a site for the facility. This provision reverses a decision to select a site in the event that the site fails to meet regulatory approvals. In its current draft the bill does not allow the same revocation to also be made for all-weather road access to the site. This problem was originally identified in the Parliamentary Library Bills Digest. There is no policy justification that would require the Commonwealth to continue a declaration for road access to a site that would not be the location of the facility, and therefore these amendments address what was a minor oversight and clear up something that ought to be fixed. I encourage the chamber to support the amendments.

Question agreed to.