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Notice given 20 October 2005

1333  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—

(1) With reference to the discovery of unexploded ordnance in Princess Royal Harbour, which falls within the jurisdiction of the Albany Port Authority in Western Australia: has action been taken by the department to identify the types of ordnance that are in the harbour; if not, why not.

(2) (a) What specialist advice has the department made available to the Albany Port Authority to investigate the ordnance find at Princess Royal Harbour; (b) how many specialists were made available by the department; and (c) what were their areas of expertise.

(3) (a) What on site investigations have been carried out by departmental specialists at Princess Royal Harbour; (b) which specialists attended the site; (c) when did the investigations take place; and (d) what were the findings of the investigation.

(4) What research, if any, has been conducted on the quantity and type of ordnance disposed of, and the area and route taken for its disposal.

(5) What assessment has been made of the likely condition of the ordnance.

(6) What steps have been taken by the department for the removal or disposal of ordnance from Princess Royal Harbour.

(7) Has the department prepared or commissioned any legal advice in regard to its liability for the removal of, or damage caused by, explosive ordnance in Princess Royal Harbour; if so, what was the substance of that advice.

(8) Regardless of legal liability, what responsibility does the department have for such a task.

(9) (a) On how many occasions has the Government attended mediation meetings with the Albany Port Authority and or the Western Australian State Government to resolve the issue of liability for the removal or disposal of ordnance in Princess Royal Harbour; and (b) when and where did the mediation meetings take place.

(10) Was a case management Directions Status Conference held at the Supreme Court of Western Australia on 27 July 2005; if so: (a) did the Government argue against the matter proceeding to trial; and (b) what was the rationale for this decision.

(11) (a) Is the Minister aware that consideration is being given to the development of the Southdown iron ore deposit by Grange Resources Limited and that, should this project proceed, it will increase port activity at Princess Royal Harbour and necessitate further dredging at the site; (b) what time frames have been put in place for the removal or disposal of ordnance in the harbour; (c) what agency within the department will oversee the removal or disposal of ordnance in the harbour; and (d) what is the estimated cost of the removal or disposal of ordnance.

 

 (12) What financial contributions will be made by the Government to meet the additional costs of dredging Princess Royal Harbour as a result of explosive ordnance found.

(13) (a) In the past 5 years, on how many occasions has the department considered ordnance recovery; (b) at what sites; and (c) with what outcome and cost in each instance.

(14) With reference to a letter dated 30 May 2005, in which the Federal Member for O’Connor (Mr Tuckey) states that he has made representations to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence requesting that the Navy Clearance Diving Team undertake clearing areas where it is anticipated further unexploded ordnance might exist in Princess Royal Harbour: has any consideration has been given to this proposal; if not, why not.