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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 993

(Question No. 4968)


Mr Milton asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, upon notice, on 27 November 1986:

(1) What action is he taking to ensure that the dumping of heavy metals waste off the Tasmanian south-east coast by the Hobart Electrolytic Zinc Company is not poisoning fish and seabirds.

(2) Will he withdraw the annual licence arrangement with the company to dump heavy metals in order to allow an intensive evaluation of its effects on all other marine life; if not, why not.


Mr Cohen —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The dumping of process wastes containing heavy metals off the south-east coast of Tasmania by the Electrolytic Zinc Company is carried out in accordance with terms and conditions, including monitoring conditions, specified in a permit made under the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981.

The monitoring conditions include both research into the chemical and physical processes affecting the dumped material and biological monitoring of relevant fauna.

(2) No. Monitoring work has been in progress for some 15 years but so far has revealed no evidence of the poisoning of fish or seabirds which can be attributed to the dumping operation. The Government will take appropriate action if these circumstances change.