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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 2891

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(3.50) — There is not a great deal I can add. The Aboriginal land rights legislation does not address a number of the issues we have talked about now for a very long time with the mining industry and others. That is still very much on the agenda. At the time of the introduction of the legislation Mr Holding announced that because of the difficulty in reaching some sort of agreement between relevant interests or striking appropriate compromises we wanted to defer the period of consultation on land rights regime issues as they affected mining and that that part of the legislative package would be picked up in the new year. That remains the case. I remain hopeful that we will get a sensible code in existence and not have to limp along with the inadequacies of the Fraser land rights legislation for the Northern Territory.

As to the allegedly confusing signals being sent out to the mining industry as a result of the protracted process of finding an appropriate regime for stage 3, I do not think the mining industry that I deal with in this respect is very confused.

Senator Durack —They didn't believe you about Coronation Hill.

Senator GARETH EVANS —I spent plenty of time talking with Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd, which is the primary leasehold interest in that area, including the Coronation Hill deposit itself. I spent plenty of time talking to the key people in the Australian Mining Industry Council on this subject as recently as a couple of days ago. I think they are well aware of the complexity of this issue and are not placing any extravagant pressure on the Government at all. They want a correct decision. They want a sensible decision. They do not, unlike Senator Durack, it seems, want a hasty decision.