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21    Foreign Affairs—Brazil—Samarco Iron Ore Mine Disaster

Senator Ludlam, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 950—That the Senate—

    (a)   notes:

                  (i)   the disaster at the Samarco iron ore mine, owned by BHP and Vale, which claimed the lives of 12 people with 22 still missing, left thousands homeless, and has left 280 000 without drinking water,

                 (ii)   comments by the Brazilian Minister of the Environment, Ms Izabella Teixeira, describing this as ‘the worst environmental disaster in Brazil’s history’,

                (iii)   the emergence of an independent report from 2013 warning of major design flaws in the waste stockpile and tailings dam which was not included in the application or the granting of a licence to Samarco,

                (iv)   that the pollution from the disaster has contaminated one of Brazil’s most important river systems, the Rio Doce, and

                 (v)   that estimates of the cost of the clean-up range from US$1 billion to US$27 billion;

    (b)   offers its deepest condolences to the people of Bento Rodrigues, neighbouring communities, and downstream communities in Brazil affected by the disaster;

     (c)   calls on BHP and all Australian corporations active around the world to uphold local environmental laws and respect human rights; and

    (d)   supports adequate compensation for affected communities which should be paid by the owners of the Samarco mine.

Statements by leave : The Assistant Cabinet Secretary (Senator Ryan) and Senator Ludlam, by leave, made statements relating to the motion.

Question put and passed.