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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1583

(Question No. 41)


Senator Chipp asked the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, upon notice, on 26 February 1985:

(1) Has the Ranger Uranium Mine constructed a pipeline from its water retention system to the Magela Creek with the intention of releasing radioactive and chemically contaminated water to the floodplains of the World Heritage Kakadu National Park.

(2) Has the Office of the Supervising Scientist given permission for the contaminated water to be released; if permission has been or will be given:

(a) when would release occur;

(b) what water quality standards would apply; and

(c) is the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment satisfied that no damage will occur to the environment, and that tourists who fish in the area and traditional owners who collect considerable quantities of food from the area will be at no risk.


Senator Ryan —The Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (2) (a) (b) (c) Ranger Uranium Mine has recently constructed a pipeline to enable release of water from water retention ponds directly to Magela Creek. Ranger has submitted an application to the supervising authority, the Northern Territory Minister for Mines and Energy, for approval to release a quantity of mildly contaminated water from within the Restricted Release Zone of the mine by way of the pipeline. The Northern Territory Minister has not approved this application. However, the Minister for Mines and Energy has announced that he has authorised controlled release of good quality water from Retention Pond No. 4 at the Ranger uranium mine. Retention Pond No. 4 is outside the Ranger restricted release zone, and water has been released from it in previous years. The Supervising Scientist for the Alligator Rivers Region has advised me that release of waters from Retention Pond No. 4 could take place such that no damage to man or the environment would occur.