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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7910

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (3:05 PM) —On 11 December, Senator Brown asked me a question without notice regarding the Chief Scientist and the Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy. I undertook to provide additional information. I seek leave to incorporate the response in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows—

The Minister for Science has provided the following additional information in relation to the question asked by Senator Brown.

· The Rio Tinto Foundation for a Sustainable Minerals Industry is part of the $137 million

· Commonwealth investment incentive to Comalco (wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto) for the construction of its alumina refinery in Gladstone.

· The Government agreed to provide Comalco with this investment incentive, by way of a loan, in October 2001.

· On 1 November this year it was announced by Minister Macfarlane that $35 million of this loan will be spent on mineral industry sustainable development research undertaken by the Foundation.

· Rio Tinto intends to provide matching funding of up to $35 million.

· This Government is a strong supporter of sustainable development.

· The Foundation demonstrates our commitment to work with business to ensure development occurs in a way that meets new environmental challenges and our recognition of the importance of technological solutions.