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Tuesday, 31 May 1994
Page: 920


Senator COOK —On 3 May, on behalf of the Treasurer, I was asked a question by Senator Chamarette concerning the licence controls on the McArthur River project operation and whether the government's involvement in the operation had ceased. I undertook to get a reply, and that reply is as follows:

  In answer to the senator's question, by way of background Mt Isa Mines sought government facilitation for fast tracking for the project in March 1992. The company proceeded through all of the government's and Northern Territory's regulatory processes to the satisfaction of both governments, including receiving foreign investment approval, subject to certain conditions being imposed.

  I have consulted with the Treasurer and have been advised that the secretariat of the Foreign Investment Review Board is unaware of any non-compliance with the conditions imposed.

  I have also consulted with the Minister for Resources and have been advised that the government has no intention of imposing export licences on lead/zinc concentrate.

   At the time of Senator Chamarette's question I replied that the government does have the power to intervene but that it is not the government's policy to do so. I would like to reiterate that it is not the government's policy in this case or in general where companies have progressed through approvals processes to subject them to further arbitrary approvals processes.