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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 105


Senator Allison asked the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 28 July 2004:

With reference to the use of live munitions in military exercises and the effects this may have on the marine environment:

(1) Did, or will, the Minister consult with the Minister for Defence during planning processes for military exercises, particularly those using live munitions within the Australian marine environment; if so, can details be provided.

(2) What are the safety margins required in those military exercises (that is, distance in relation to size of explosives) for marine mammals, turtles, fish and seabed ecosystems including coral reefs and seagrass beds.

(3) Will military exercises using explosive ordnance be permitted to take place within the range that is unsafe for marine mammals, turtles, fish and seabed ecosystems: (a) in areas of the Australian marine environment recognised for natural heritage values on the Commonwealth Heritage List; and (b) all other areas of the Australian marine environment.

(4) To what extent do Australia's domestic laws, especially those intended to protect the environment, extend to foreign nationals who participate in military exercises and operations within Australian territories.


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

(1) Yes. Details of military exercises that have been referred by the Department of Defence for consideration under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) are notified on my Department's internet site at (www.deh.gov.au/epbc/publicnotices/index.html).

(2) Approval conditions are determined on a case by case basis.

(3) See 2 above.

(4) Foreign nationals who participate in military exercises and operations within Australian Territories are subject to the full extent of Australian Law except where they are exempted pursuant to that law. There is no such exemption in relation to the EPBC Act.