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Friday, 20 March 1987
Page: 1085

Senator BOSWELL —I refer the Leader of the Government in the Senate to a joint statement released today by the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment denying approval for a proposed silica sand mining project at Shelburne Bay in far north Queensland. Does the Minister realise that this project would have provided 80 jobs, $20m per year in export sales and investment in plant and equipment of $30m, most of which would have been manufactured in north Queensland? At a time when this nation is facing a balance of payments crisis, why has the Hawke Government made this decision to deny Australia $20m worth of export income every year to pander to a handful of vocal greenies and Democrat voters, bearing in mind this area is virtually inaccessible, being 377 miles from Cairns and 200 miles from the nearest Aboriginal settlement?

Senator BUTTON —I was unaware of the announcement this morning.

Senator Boswell —You should be aware of it. You are the Leader of the Government.

Senator BUTTON —I, as Leader of the Government, am aware of most things, which is something I could scarcely say for the honour- able senator. I understand the area in question, Shelburne Bay, was the subject of an environmental impact statement and the Government's decision was made on that basis.