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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
Page: 26027


Senator NETTLE (4:26 PM) —I want to give the government another opportunity to address an issue which was not satisfactorily addressed last night. It was about the requirement in this legislation for an environmental assessment of the impact of the legislation to be dealt with and completed by the government before the committee which implements the trade agreement can come into effect. Last night we had two conflicting comments from the government: a view expressed by the minister in the chamber at the time, Senator Hill, that the government believed their obligations had been fulfilled by the cursory environmental analysis provided by the Centre for International Economics and a different view expressed by government senators in the Senate Select Committee on the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the United States of America that the government will be carrying out an environmental assessment of the agreement in the context of the overall analysis of the agreement. I want to give the government another opportunity to say whether overnight they have achieved more clarity on whether an environmental assessment of the trade agreement would be carried out as per the agreement.