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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2798

Senator COATES —I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment. I refer to the environmental impact study being conducted into the whole forestry industry in Tasmania. The group doing the study, which consists of industry representatives rather than representatives of all interests, sought submissions from environmental organisations about the guidelines but has not released them. Will the Minister ensure that the study group's decisions on the guidelines are released publicly so that everyone can judge the fairness and reasonableness of them and react accordingly? Further, can there be an independent assessment of such important basic factors as sustainable yields of Tasmania's forests?

Senator RYAN —The Minister has provided me with some information on the subject matter of Senator Coates's question. Guidelines for the preparation of the environmental impact statement which has been directed on the future development of Tasmanian woodchip exports and associated forestry operations have been drawn up following discussion with Tasmanian departments and the companies concerned. During this process the environmental study group preparing the EIS sought comments on the scope of the EIS directly from conservation groups and by public advertisement. The guidelines for the EIS are available from the Department of Home Affairs and Environment in Canberra. The environmental assessment of the EIS will be carried out by the Department according to its requirements of the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act and the administrative procedures of the Act. The assessment will include considerations of sustainable yields.