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Thursday, 4 December 1986
Page: 3398


Senator VIGOR(5.05) —I speak very briefly to support Senator Jones and to thank the people on the Senate Standing Committee on Science, Technology and the Environment. We had a very informative and effective look at this project. We looked also at the Cape Flattery mining project at the same time and some lessons that we learned from this inquiry could also be applied at Cape Flattery.

Our fifth recommendation was that ships from Japan should exchange their ballast water at sea and treat new water with those chemicals which are necessary to prevent the Japanese mussel from infesting the Great Barrier Reef area. I believe that the same condition should apply to the Cape Flattery mine which is already in operation. It has set up a new jetty and is bringing ships directly into that area. I believe that we should also examine the pricing policy on silica sand and look at exactly what Australia is getting out of silica sand mining because the Cape Flattery operation is fully owned and fairly well operated from Japan. The pricing seems to be geared to the local Japanese market. These are not issues directly involved with the Committee report but I believe one should not miss them in the process of such an investigation. I note with just a little worry that I received a call today from some people who were camping in the area and who said that there is considerable activity bringing material into the Shelburne Bay area, obviously associated with mining, even though the proposals for mining have not been fully accepted. I believe that this is really jumping the gun. The survey work on Rodney Island has broken through the canopy of the forest in that area and has done a considerable amount of damage from which it may take a long time to recover. I commend the report to the Senate.