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Thursday, 19 March 1987
Page: 1037


Senator RYAN (Minister for Education)(10.01) —I thank honourable senators for their constructive approach to this legislation, which is designed to overcome some specific administrative constraints in the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974 and to improve other aspects of its administration. I think that during the debate it has generally been recognised as doing that.

In response to Senator Brownhill's suggestion that the legislation has not led to any action in respect of the areas of New South Wales which he mentioned, I remind the honourable senator that the legislation does not give the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment any veto powers. The Minister may prepare environmental impact statements but the ultimate decision is still one for the Government. In the case of the examples that Senator Brownhill gave, environmental impact statements were prepared and taken into account, but government decisions were made. I understand that one is being prepared in the case of Jervis Bay and it will be taken into account. Whether or not it will lead to the Government changing its decision is a matter for the future. But there is the opportunity for information to come forward to the Government by way of this legislation, which it takes into account. But I do not think Senator Brownhill would be arguing for a veto for the environment Minister over other decisions of Government.

Other than that, I thank honourable senators who have supported the legislation. I indicate that the Australian Democrats' amendments are not acceptable to the Government, and I commend the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Amendment Bill to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.