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Monday, 24 November 2003
Page: 17781

Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 8 October 2003:

With reference to the Australian Antarctic Division's proposed Air Transport System (ATS):

(1) Does the ATS require the construction of a rock and gravel runway at Davis station in order to operate successfully; if so, why has the proposal to construct this runway not been included in the environmental assessments and public consultation relating to the ATS.

(2) Given that both the current proposed ATS and a rock and gravel runway would cause environmental damage, is the construction of this runway for intra-continental aircraft at Davis station a more or less efficient, safe and environmentally damaging system than that proposed under the ATS; if so, why; if not, why not.

(3) If the current ATS proceeds, does the Australian Antarctic Division rule out seeking environmental approval for a rock and gravel runway now or in the foreseeable future; if not, will the Minister rule out approving such a runway proposal.

(4) Given the uncertainty surrounding a possible rock and gravel runway, will the Minister establish an independent evaluation of the ATS, with particular reference to the Davis Plateau link, to determine whether the link as proposed is flawed and should not proceed.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for the Environment and Heritage has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) to (4) The AAD does not intend to construct a rock or gravel runway.