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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 209

Senator Siewert asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, upon notice, on 2 December 2008:

(1)   When will the Minister make a decision on the controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to establish a solar salt mine along the eastern coast of the Exmouth Gulf.

(2)   Is the Minister aware of advice from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of Western Australia to the Western Australian Minister for the Environment, published in EPA Report 1295, Yannarie Solar Salt, east coast of Exmouth Gulf, dated July 2008, which unconditionally rejects the proposal on environmental grounds.

Senator Wong (Minister for Climate Change and Water) —The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   The Solar Salt Project proposed by Straits Salt Pty Limited is being assessed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 utilising the bilateral agreement with Western Australia on environmental impact assessment. The Department is seeking further information from Western Australia in relation to the impacts on the matters of national environmental significance arising from the proposed salt project, Listed Threatened Species and Communities, and Listed Migratory Species, before finalising its advice to me. I cannot make a decision until the advice is considered therefore it is not possible to give a firm date for the decision.

(2)   Yes. My Department has been provided with a copy of the Western Australia Environment Protection Agency’s Report.