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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 86


Senator Brown asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 13 May 2004:

With reference to Hydro Tasmania's proposed wind farm at Heemskirk on Tasmania's west coast:

(1) Did Hydro Tasmania refer the proposed development under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999; if not, should the proposal have been referred.

(2) Is the proposed development largely within the Mt Heemskirk Regional Reserve and is this reserve part of the comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system established in the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement (RFA).

(3) (a) Was Mt Heemskirk Regional Reserve protected under the RFA because it is `predominantly in a natural state'; and (b) does Attachment 7 of the RFA require regional reserves to be managed for `mineral exploration and development of mineral deposits and small scale use of other natural resources while providing at the same time, for the protection and maintenance of natural and cultural values'.

(4) Does section 24 of the RFA require Tasmania to `manage areas in the CAR reserve system ... in accordance with the relevant objectives set out in Attachment 7'.

(5) Does the Minister consider that the proposed development of a wind farm in the Mt Heemskirk Regional Reserve is in accordance with Attachment 7 and section 24 of the RFA; if so, why.

(6) What action will the Minister take to ensure that Mt Heemskirk Regional Reserve is protected from incompatible developments, including the proposed wind farm.


Senator Ian Campbell (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) Yes.

(3) (a) and (b) Attachment 7 of the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) defines the purposes of a Managed Natural Area/Regional Reserve as `an area of land with high mineral potential or prospectivity which is predominantly in a natural state; and which should be managed for mineral exploration and development of mineral deposits and small scale use of other natural resources while providing, at the same time, for the protection and maintenance of natural and cultural values'.

(4) Yes.

(5) The proposed windfarm development at Heemskirk is currently being assessed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

(6) The assessment and approval process under the EPBC Act, will inform me of considerations on the proposed Heemskirk windfarm development so that I can take into account all relevant matters.