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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2891

(Question No. 1317)


Senator Macdonald asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories, upon notice, on 14 October 1991:

  (1) Why were no provisions made by the Government to compensate interests not directly involved with rainforest logging in the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage area.

  (2) At the time of World Heritage Listing, did the Government consider that no businesses, aside from those in the timber industry, would be affected by World Heritage Listing of the Wet Tropics; if so, does the Government now believe this to have been the case.

  (3) At the time of World Heritage Listing, was it the Government's intention that mining and grazing activities which involved some clearance of areas of rainforest would be forced to cease as a direct result of World Heritage Listing (as is indicated in the penultimate paragraph of the Minister's press release of 11 December 1987); if so, why was it decided not to provide any compensation to such businesses; if not, how does the Government reconcile this position with the Minister's press release which clearly states that `grazing of stock could continue, as could mining ... provided such activities do not involve clearance of areas of rainforest or other threats to World Heritage values'.

  (4) Did the Government consider that businesses which had spent large sums of money on stock, capital equipment, planning, exploration for maintenance of future mining or grazing activities involving some clearance of areas of rainforest would be prevented from proceeding as a direct result of World Heritage Listing.

  (5) Under these circumstances, have companies suffered large depreciation of their investments as a direct result of World Heritage Listing.

  (6) Why were there no measures taken to directly compensate companies which had spent large sums of money on planned projects on the basis that they would be developed further in the future, only to have the Government's decision in favour of World Heritage Listing prevent forever these projects going ahead.

  (7) Why are industries not associated with the timber industry, like mining, eligible for compensation in the Fraser Island World Heritage Listing Federal/State compensation package, when they were not, in the case of the Wet Tropics.


Senator Richardson —The Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) No provisions were made to compensate interests not directly involved with rainforest logging in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area because the Government was of the opinion that the nomination should have no effect on those interests.

  (2) Yes.

  (3) Mining and grazing proposals which involved clearance of rainforests to an extent which did not jeopardise World Heritage values were not prohibited.

  (4), (5) and (6) The Government was of the view that such proposals would not be prevented from proceeding provided they did not jeopardise World Heritage values.

  (7) Decisions about what industries are to be compensated in the Fraser Island and Great Sandy region as a result of the World Heritage nomination are the responsibility of the Queensland Government. The Honourable Senator should therefore contact the appropriate Queensland Minister to obtain any additional information he may require.