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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2063

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(12.01) —That is stretching a much longer bow that I have ever read into the clause.

Senator Durack —What does it mean?

Senator GARETH EVANS —It just conveys a capacity to grant an interest in what will be now Aboriginal land on the hypothesis the honourable senator has just indicated. It does not in any way suggest that the interest will be able to be granted irrespective of all the other procedures, terms and conditions and criteria that have to be satisfied. That is my understanding of it. The Department of Aboriginal Affairs people are nodding their heads over here in assent to that proposition as I have just described it. It is the intention that the normal regime of consents, and so on, be applicable. This is just a formal provision making it clear that the new Aboriginal land that may be granted here can be made subject to an exploration licence. It is to cope with the unlikely, I think, contingency that there will be an Aboriginal claim in place before the exploration licence is awarded under this new regime.