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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2807


Senator VALLENTINE —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories. Further to my previous questions relating to the gazettal of the Port Kennedy area in Western Australia on the interim list of the Register of the National Estate, can the Minister confirm or deny that the Western Australian Premier or the Federal Minister for Local Government has approached the Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories with a request that the Australian Heritage Commission defer the listing? Can the Minister confirm that Port Kennedy will be listed in the gazettal on 26 November, as indicated in his answer to my previous question on notice of 3 September 1991?


Senator RICHARDSON —Since the matter was raised with me by Senator Vallentine, the Western Australian Government has made representations to the Australian Heritage Commission to have the matter reconsidered. I think it also made representations to Mrs Kelly, but—


Senator Hill —Mr President, I raise a point of order. How about your doing again what you have done on several occasions—that is, to suggest that Ministers come back into the chamber and listen to answers during Question Time.


The PRESIDENT —I cannot make a Minister return. I have drawn attention to this on many occasions.


Senator Tate —I am having a consultation with another senator.


The PRESIDENT —Order!


Senator Hill —I stopped you on the way; you were walking out.


The PRESIDENT —Order!


Senator RICHARDSON —What has occurred is that the Western Australian Government has approached Mrs Kelly, but my understanding is that, in doing what is appropriate, as she always does, she has not attempted to convince the Heritage Commission to do anything as a result of that representation from the Western Australian Government, because it is an independent body. Nonetheless, because the representation came from the Western Australian Government to the Commission, the Commission has decided to have another look at the information that was before it and has also invited the Western Australian Government to submit any other information to it. The Commission has indicated to the Western Australian Government that it will consider any new information at its meeting on 21 November. Because that is so close to the 26 November date for a gazettal, it will not be gazetted then. But, if no new information is put up, or no information is considered worthy of a change of the original decision, it will reaffirm the decision it has already taken and I think that it will be gazetted in mid-December.


Senator VALLENTINE —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Is this further look intended to protect commercial interests of the proponents of a tourism development in the area which is currently seeking overseas participants? If so, would the Minister support such a deferment?


Senator RICHARDSON —I am not aware of the specifics of any Western Australian Government request but, as Senator Vallentine will be aware, in any event listing on the National Estate does not prevent development. It places obligations on the Commonwealth, not on State and local government, so it does not prevent that anyway. I am not certain of what specific reason the Western Australian Government gave in asking for further consideration.


Senator Button —Mr President, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.