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Tuesday, 3 May 1994
Page: 103

(Question No. 1067)

Senator Ellison asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, upon notice, on 22 February 1994:

  (1) Has the Federal Government been funding the legal actions of the Yawuru people in relation to the Broome Crocodile Farm, either directly or indirectly.

  (2) Is taxpayers' money being used to fund the Kimberley Land Council which has assisted in financing the legal proceedings of the Yawuru people against the development of the Broome Crocodile Farm.

  (3) (a) How many times have the Yawuru people sought injunctions in the courts to stop the development of the Broome Crocodile Farm;

  (b) What consultations have occurred between the parties to the court proceedings: and

  (c) What have been the results of these applications.

  (4) In view of the fact that Mr Douglas, the proprietor of the Broome Crocodile Farm, has since 1991 worked through all formal processes required under State laws, has agreed to excise from development the area of most significance to the Yawuru people and has defended the matter through the courts on four occasions, why has an emergency declaration been issued now.

  (5) On what evidence was the decision on 4 February 1994 to issue a section 9 declaration based.

  (6) Given the claimed significance of the land in question, does the Minister intend to issue a permanent declaration under the Act should his consultations prove ineffective.

  (7) Has any representation been made from the Member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Campbell) in respect of the Broome Crocodile Farm.

Senator Collins —The Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs has provided the following information in response to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) & (2) The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission advises that the Kimberley Land Council receives financial assistance from the Commission.

  (3) Neither the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission nor the Commonwealth Government is a party to any of the proceedings referred to the honourable Senator's question, and accordingly the question would be better directed to the actual parties to the proceedings.

  (4) & (5) The Western Australian Government and Mr and Mrs Douglas have applied to the Federal Court for orders to review the Minister's decision to issue an emergency declaration. It is not appropriate to comment further whilst these proceedings are before the Court.

  (6) Under the provisions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 the Minister is required to consider a report prepared for him dealing with the matters listed under S.10(4) before making any decision concerning a declaration S.10(1). The Hon Fred Chaney was nominated to prepare such a report, and the Minister is currently awaiting that report.

  (7) Yes.