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Notice given 7 April 2008

*395  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—With reference to: (a) the Minister’s announcement on 5 February 2008, during his opening address to the workshop on Kimberley Coast Natural Values, that the Federal Government and Western Australian Government will carry out a strategic assessment to identify a site for a single common-user liquefied natural gas (LNG) hub for the Browse Basin; and (b) the completed cultural and environmental values contained within the national heritage listing of the Dampier Archipelago region:

(1) Is the Minister or the department aware that, in 1994, the current chair of the Western Australian Government’s Northern Development Task Force, Mr Limerick, committed to carry out an assessment of the region as a result of his department’s legal intervention to stop the Dampier Archipelago being assessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (as evidenced by the media release dated 7 October 1994, ‘Pilbara industrial development’, available on the website .

(2) Is the Minister or the department aware that no strategic or environmental assessment of industrial development on the Dampier Archipelago was ever carried out by the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority.

(3) Does the Minister therefore consider that it is time for a rational,  considered and holistic approach to planning in the Pilbara region; if so, when will a strategic assessment be sought, in conjunction with the Western Australian Government; if not, why not.

(4) Does the Minister believe that piecemeal development, with multiple ports and processing plants along the Pilbara coast, is in the national interest; if so, why; if not, will the Minister consider an assessment as referred to in paragraph (3).

(5) In the search for a suitable single common-user LNG hub for the Browse Basin, will the Minister rule out the use of the Dampier Archipelago as a location for a development option outside of the Kimberley region.

*396  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—With reference to the strategic assessment for a gas processing hub in the Kimberley region in Western Australia which is being jointly conducted by the Federal Government and the Western Australian Government:

(1) Can the Minister assess the proposed gas processing facility on the Meret Islands, by the Japanese company INPEX, under section 146 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 , as amended in 2006, while the strategic assessment is being undertaken;

(2) If the assessment can be made, is it the Minister’s intention to do so; if so, why; if not, why not.

(3) Will the Government conduct an environmental impact statement assessment, under the Act, of the proposals by INPEX and Woodside.

(4) Are INPEX and/or Woodside, or their joint venture partners, funding the strategic assessment, in part, fully or indirectly through mining offsets between the proponents and the Western Australian Government or the Federal Government.

(5) What mining or petroleum offset packages are currently being negotiated in relation to the offshore oil and gas industry in Western Australia.

*397  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy on 21 April 2008 )—In regard to formation waters produced from offshore facilities:

(1) Can detailed information on waste waters (total produced formation waters) discharged into the ocean during 2005 and 2006 from all production platforms around the north west coast of Australia be provided, including: (a) the following Timor Sea producing platforms, feeding Darwin (off the North Kimberley Coast): Puffin, Jabiru, Challis/Cassini, Blacktip (Bonaparte Basin, close to the Kimberley Coast near Berkeley), Bayu Undan, Buffalo and Laminaria East; and (b) the following Pilbara producing platforms: Mutineer, Exeter, Hermes, Lambert, Angel, Cossack, Wanaea, Legendre North, Legendre South, Wandoo, Stag, North Rankin, Perseus, Echo/Yodel, Goodwyn South/Pueblo, John Brookes, East Spar, Woollybutt, Chinook/Scindian, Griffin, Yammaderry, Cowle, Crest, Saladin, Skate, Roller, Novara, Enfield, Vincent, Eskdale, Skybarrow, Campbell, Wonnich, Endymion/Sinbad, Bambra, Linda, Harriet/Gudrun, Lee/Rose, North Alkimos, Agincourt, Gipsy, Monet/Simpson/Tanami, S. Plato, Little Sandy/Pedirka/North Pedirka/Hoover, Victoria and Double Island.

(2) What is the total volume of waste water discharged per year.

(3) What is the breakdown and concentration, in milligrams per litre, of heavy metal pollution index (HPI) substances in the formation water.

(4) What mass of HPI substances, in kilograms per year, was emitted from each platform listed in paragraph (1) during 2005 and 2006.

*398  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—With reference to an answer provided by the Western Australian Parliamentary Secretary representing the Minister for the Environment in the Western Australian Legislative Council, the Honourable Sally Talbot MLC, to question on notice no. 5913 (Western Australian Legislative Council Hansard , 18 March 2008, p 1034b) and records of determinations made by the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority, available on the authority’s website at , and given that Western Australian mining leases M47/112, M47/29 and M47/326, two of which straddle the national heritage listed area of the Dampier Archipelago (including the Burrup Peninsula), have been given environmental approval by the Western Australian Government without any environmental assessment or advice:

(1) Was the department informed of the mining applications within the national heritage listed area: (a) if so: (i) on what date, and (ii) what action or evaluation was carried out by the department in respect of the application; or (b) if not: (i) does the Minister intend to find out why not, and/or (ii) what action does the Minister intend to take.

(2) Does the Minister support mining activity in, or adjacent to, the area; if so, why.

*399  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—In relation to the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia:

(1) Did the Minister receive correspondence and proposals from Mr Alex Leach, a resident of Western Australia, on or about July 2007 and, subsequently, in January 2008.

(2) What issues were raised in each piece of correspondence and each proposal.

(3) Does the Minister consider that these proposals have merit.

(4) Is the Minister going to respond to the correspondence and proposals; if not, why not; if so, when can Mr Leach expect a response.

*400  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—In regard to the Regional Forest Agreement for Western Australia: 

(1) Which clauses of the agreement are still operative.

(2) Which clauses are legally binding on the Commonwealth.

(3) Which milestones have been completed within the allocated time.

(4) Is the agreement under review; if so: (a) by whom; (b) what are the terms of reference; (c) what is the timeline; and (d) will there be public consultation.


 *401  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—In regard to: (a) the Prime Minister’s ‘Standards of Ministerial Ethics’ dated December 2007; (b) the appointment of the Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Northern Australia, the Honourable Gary Gray AO MP; and (c) Mr Gray’s former employment by the Woodside group of companies:

(1) While not stated, do the Standards of Ministerial Ethics apply to parliamentary secretaries.

(2) Given that ministers are required to divest themselves of all shareholdings, other than through investment vehicles, such as broadly diversified superannuation funds or publicly-listed managed or trust arrangements, has Mr Gray complied with this requirement.

(3) Did Mr Gray accompany the Prime Minister on a tour of the Woodside offshore oil and gas platforms; if so, in what capacity.

(4) Given that, as reported in the West Australian on 22 January 2008, after touring Woodside’s offshore oil and gas platforms: ‘Mr Rudd said a slice of the revenue from large resources projects such as Woodside’s new Pluto development would be returned to the State over time’ and the ‘Prime Minister pledged to work side-by-side with Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson and Infrastructure Minister [sic] Gary Gray to ensure the economic powerhouse of the nation continued to thrive’, will Mr Gray, having had a past personal association with Woodside, be allowed to make decisions that affect that enterprise or will this responsibility be passed to a senior minister or a minister nominated by the Prime Minister.

(5) Given the arguments between Australia and East Timor over maritime boundaries, the former Government’s role in encouraging Woodside in its efforts to overcome the constraints of the American sanctions law that sought to limit worldwide investment in Libya and the role Mr Gray, as director of corporate affairs for Woodside, played in these negotiations, will the Prime Minister ensure that Mr Gray takes no part in negotiations or deliberations pertaining to the oil and gas exploration and production industry.

(6) Given the role Mr Gray, as director of corporate affairs for Woodside, played in the negotiations on behalf of Woodside with Ms Clare Martin, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in 2002, is it appropriate for him to be the Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Northern Australia.