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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 99


Senator Brown asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 5 July 2004:

With reference to forest clearing and plantation establishment in the Tiwi Islands:

(1) Did the Commonwealth approve the existing forest clearing and Acacia mangium plantation establishment project conducted by Sylvatech on the Tiwi Islands

(2) (a) What area of forest was approved for clearing; and (b) what area of plantation was approved for establishment.

(3) Is the Minister aware of recent advertisements placed by Sylvatech in national newspapers for `aggressive expansion plans' for the Tiwi operation, involving `up to 100 000 hectares' of forest clearing and plantation establishment.

(4) What Commonwealth involvement will there be in relation to any expansion of the forest clearing and plantation establishment operation beyond that already approved.

(5) What impact is the proposed expansion of this project likely to have on identified endangered species and other ecological values of the forests of the Tiwi Islands.

(6) (a) Has the Commonwealth provided any funding for this project; if so, how much; and (b) has the Commonwealth been asked for further funding in relation to the expansion of this project; if so: (i) by whom, (ii) when, (iii) how much was sought, and (iv) for what purposes.

(7) Is the operation eligible for tax subsidies under the 13 month prepayment rule.


Senator Ian Campbell (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) — The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) (a) Up to 26,000 hectares; (b) up to 26,000 hectares.

(3) No.

(4) A proposal that is likely to have a significant impact on a matter of National Environmental Significance will require the approval of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage.

(5) Assessment of the expansion of the project would be required to determine the likely impacts on listed threatened species and other matters of National Environmental Significance.

(6) (a) $113,600 was provided in 2000-01, and $18,500 in 2001-02 to the Tiwi Land Council to identify the natural conservation values of the island, minimise conflict between areas of high conservation value and sites selected for plantations, establish management guidelines for areas of high conservation value and to establish a monitoring program for the plantation industry; and (b) No.

(7) No.