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Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Page: 1225


Senator Bob Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 15 January 2009:

Having yet to receive a response to questions taken on notice during the 2008-09 supplementary Budget estimates hearings of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, can the Minister also provide answers to the following:

(1)   Has BHP Billiton announced that it will not be going ahead with mining on Gag Island, Indonesia.

(2)   What representations, direct or indirect, have been made to Indonesia by Australia or any Australian mining company regarding Gag Island or its inclusion on the World Heritage List.


Senator Faulkner (Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary) —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   BHP Billiton announced on 13 November 2008 that it had decided to end a study into integrated nickel development in Eastern Indonesia (Gag Island and at Buli in Halmahera). The announcement noted that the study had not been able to identify a business case to support the investment.

(2)   There have not been Australian Government representations specifically relating to Gag Island since 20 June 2002 (representations on 20 June 2002 noted in answer to Senate Question on Notice No. 2145 of 19 September 2003—Senate Hansard, 10 February 2004, page 19761). Australia’s representations to Indonesia on mining have focused on the general need for certainty, transparency and coordination between different regulatory regimes, in order to improve the investment environment. The Minister is not in a position to provide details of representations that may have been made in Indonesia by Australian mining companies in relation to this issue.