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Wednesday, 4 May 1994
Page: 254

(Question No. 1083)

Senator Chamarette asked the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, upon notice, on 23 February 1994:

  With reference to the Maralinga nuclear test site:

  (1) What is the precise amount that the United Kingdom has agreed to pay to Australia for the clean-up of the site.

  (2) What are the details of the operation to be conducted to clean up and restore the site.

  (3) What consultation, if any, was or is to be conducted with the Aboriginal custodians of the site.

Senator Collins —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) The British Government has agreed to pay 20 million pounds sterling in settlement of Australia's claims concerning the British nuclear test program in Australia.

  (2) The Government's preferred rehabilitation option was selected from the Range of options presented in the Report of the Technical Assessment Group (TAG), Rehabilitation of Former Nuclear Test Sites In Australia, Australian Government Publishing Service 1990. This option corresponds broadly with TAG option 6(c) and includes burial of soil from seriously contaminated sites, erecting boundary markers around more lightly contaminated areas and treatment of plutonium contaminated burial pits.

  (3) There has been extensive consultation with Aboriginal representatives at Ministerial level and by the Department of Primary Industries and Energy concerning the test sites. Aboriginal people with an interest in the Maralinga region were represented on a Consultative Group established in 1986 as a forum for discussion of all matters concerning rehabilitation of the test sites including the TAG Study Program and the TAG Report. Their continued representation has been sought on the Group which has been reconvened to address the clean-up phase of the project.