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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 130

Senator Brown asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 30 August 2004:

With reference to the listing of Recherche Bay on the National Heritage List:

(1) Is the Commonwealth currently assessing the northern peninsula of Recherche Bay for listing on the National Heritage List.

(2) When does the Commonwealth expect to make a decision regarding the listing.

(3) Has the Commonwealth met with the Tasmanian Government concerning the listing; if so: (a) when; and (b) what was the outcome.

(4) What natural and cultural heritage and archaeological studies have been conducted or are planned to be conducted as part of the Commonwealth's assessment of the site.

(5) (a) Who has been employed to conduct the assessments; and (b) what results are available to date.

(6) What powers does the Commonwealth have to list the area in the event of an emergency which threatens the values of the site.

(7) What protection does an emergency listing offer a site.

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

(1) I have requested the Australian Heritage Council (the Council) to assess whether the place meets any of the National Heritage criteria.

(2) I refer the honourable senator to my answer to his Question No. 3084 (3) - The Council is required to make a recommendation to me within the 12 months statutory assessment period which concludes on 2 March 2005. Within 20 business days of receiving the assessment I am required to decide to list or not to list the place unless I decide to seek public comment on the inclusion or proposed inclusion of the place in the National Heritage List. If I decide to seek public comment then within 60 business days after the end of the period for comments (40 business days) I am required to decide whether the place should be listed or not.

(3) The Council has not met with the Tasmanian Government concerning the listing.

(4) The decision on what studies that may be undertaken is a matter under consideration by the Council.

(5) I understand that no non-Departmental staff have been employed to conduct the assessment but a thematic study has been commissioned to acquire comparative data.

(6) I am able to include the place in the National Heritage List under s324F of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act) but the place and the threat would have to satisfy the requirements of this section for emergency listing.

(7) If listed on the National Heritage List within the 10 business day period I have for consideration of an emergency listing proposal, a place has the same protection as if it was included in the National Heritage List by the more usual process. However, I do still have to request an assessment of the place against the National Heritage criteria from the Council, which is required to do this assessment within 40 business days rather than the normal 12 months and this may result in the removal of the place from the National Heritage List or a change to the values or boundary as considered in the initial examination of the emergency listing proposal. Certain actions which have or are likely to have a significant impact on the National Heritage values of a National Heritage place are prohibited by the Act, subject to a number of exclusions. The exclusions include Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) forestry operations. RFA forestry operations undertaken in accordance with an RFA are excluded (s38 of the Act) from the Act's protective provisions - unless they are included in section 42.