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Benders quarry

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Minister for The Arts, Sport, The Environment and Territories


The Minister for Arts, Sport, the'Environment and Territories, Ros Kelly, today slammed the Tasmanian Government's intransigence on Bender's Quarry. As a result the Tasmanian Government has made implementation of the September agreement for the closure and rehabilitation of Bender's Quarry impossible. .

"Faced with this situation I have no alternative but to reinstate a ban on any further quarrying activities at the quarry," Mrs Kelly said.

The September agreement between the Commonwealth, State and Benders Pty Ltd allowed for the rehabilitation and closure of the quarry by 31 January 1993 with the removal of some limestone supplies for commercial purposes.

However, the position adopted by the Tasmanian Government offers no basis on which funding of the agreement can be achieved.

"Although the Tasmanian Government's own reports say that the World Heritage values of Exit Cave are being compromised by quarrying operations, they are not prepared to spend a cent of World Heritage money on appropriate rehabilitation of the site."

Mrs Kelly said the Tasmanian Government has refused a viable funding formula for the rehabilitation of the quarry. She said the Commonwealth's position regarding financial arrangements is both logical and reasonable. It has insisted that, since most of the costs incurred as a consequence of actions taken under the World Heritage Properties Conservation Act 1983 they should be met from Tasmanian World Heritage Area Management Funds. The only exceptions would be ex gratia dislocation payments to Bender employees and possibly an ex gratia payment already offered to Mr Bender himself. The Tasmanian Government has rejected any possibility of using Tasmanian World Heritage Area Management Funds.

"The Commonwealth provides over $6m to Tasmania each year for management of the World Heritage area."

"The State Government's intransigence on these matters has jeopardised the best interests of Tasmanian farmers, industry and community, as well as the World Heritage Area."

"I believe Mr Bender has stuck to his part of the agreement and the Commonwealth is prepared to consider meeting those additional costs incurred in fulfilling from other sources the commercial requirements identified in the September agreement" ,

"This should enable him to maintain supplies while alternative quarrying options are explored by the Tasmanian Government."

There are major reasons to doubt the sincerity of the Tasmanian Government's commitment to the terms of the original agreement. The Tasmanian Government has also refused to confirm that all quarry operations at the Ida Bay site would cease on or before 31 January 1993. Which areas of the quarry can be worked is also unclear.

"My priorities and responsibilities are to protect the World Heritage values of Exit Cave. The Commonwealth will also meet dislocation costs incurred by the Bender's Quarry workers on an ex gratia basis.

Contact: Mr Garrie Hutchinson (06) 277 7640 or (018)624 712 Mr Phillip Hoysted (018) 620 125


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