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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2061

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(11.41) —The titles that are actually to be issued will be titles under section 51 of the Commonwealth Lands Acquisition Act, which talks in terms of the Governor-General authorising the grant of a lease or licence as the case may be. That section goes on to say:

Subject to such exemptions or modifications as are prescribed, the laws of the State-

that includes the Territory, I presume-

in which the land is situated relating to mining shall, as far as applicable, apply to a lease or licence under this section and to mining carried on under the lease or licence.

Senator Durack —Is that how you are getting over the need for any special Commonwealth law?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Yes, in order that there is not a separate Commonwealth mining code. When mining or exploration takes place on Commonwealth land it is done pursuant to this picking up and application of the relevant local law by the Lands Acquisition Act. The way it will be done in each particular case is by quite elaborate conditions being attached to the grant of the licence in question. To the extent that there are any variations proposed from the local Northern Territory law, that will be picked up and made clear in terms of the actual conditions attached to the licence in question.

Senator Durack asked about the extent to which there would be variations or additions to the Northern Territory law in the context of the language of the Minister's speech. All I can say about that is that there is under discussion at the moment a set of draft environmental regulations which are essentially on all fours with the sort of thing which is already in Northern Territory law but which is somewhat more detailed and perhaps a little more rigorous because of the nature of this land. Those regulatory conditions, which are to be promulgated under the National Parks and Wildlife Act as regulations and which will also be attached as conditions to particular licences, are under discussion at the moment with the Northern Territory Government as well as within the Commonwealth. It is hoped that their terms will be settled and able to be announced at the same time as the full scale regime is announced for this area.