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Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Page: 1226

Senator Milne asked the Minister for Climate Change and Water, upon notice, on 15 January 2009:

Will the Commonwealth Government act to ensure the $140 million allocated to Tasmania for irrigation projects is not spent on projects such as the proposed Boobyalla Dam (otherwise known as the Waterhouse Dam) which would destroy Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) protected forest community types and state-and Commonwealth-listed threatened species and noted priority species for protection under the Tasmanian RFA; if not, why not.

Senator Wong (Minister for Climate Change and Water) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

An election commitment of up to $140 million was made to support more efficient irrigation in Tasmania, under the $12.9 billion water reform package, Water for the Future.

The Tasmanian Government has been asked to supply comprehensive business cases for each of the irrigation development projects it wishes to be considered for Commonwealth funding. The Commonwealth will conduct due diligence assessments of each business case prior to committing funding.

A core component of the Commonwealth due diligence process is an assessment of the environmental impact assessments (long and short term) undertaken for the projects.

The business cases must provide evidence:

  • of compliance with all State and Local level environmental law, including environmental impact assessment processes; and
  • that the project is environmentally sustainable (for example demonstrating that the project will not have an adverse impact on matters of National Environmental Significance as defined under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999).