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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2053


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(11.02) —No, it is no more sinister than that. I tried to spell it out. It is a matter of being subject to the same environmental regulatory regime as the new interests will have under the conservation zone. It will not affect in any other way the capacity of those rights to be exploited as far as exploration is concerned. Of course, when we get to the stage of approving or not approving a new mining development that might be proposed following that exploration there will be applied to that the criteria that we spoke of before. That is a new decision that would be made anyway by government, and it does not bear upon the quality of the existing right.

Finally, in relation to Senator Durack's opening remarks, I cheerfully say on the record that this legislation will not and is not intended to set a precedent that could be applied to existing mining rights on Commonwealth land generally. The Government's decision to establish this conservation zone and its accompanying management regime to control exploration is very much something that has been designed specifically for the particular circumstances of this area to ensure protection of the adjacent Kakadu National Park and the river system and the world heritage status of that area. It is not to be regarded as having any applicability at all anywhere else in the country.