Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 15 October 1973
Page: 2127

Mr Wilson (STURT, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, upon notice:

(1)   How many environmental impact studies have been initiated by him or his Department on projects proposed or initiated by (a) the previous Government and (b) the present Government.

(2)   What are the projects in respect of which environmental impact studies have been or are being made.

(3)   Will he make available to the public all completed impact studies as soon as practicable after their completion.

(4)   Will he inform the public of environmental impact studies as they are initiated from time to time.

(5)   If not, how can environmental groups do other than busy themselves in fighting rearguard actions if the public is unaware of proposals likely to prejudice the environment.

(6)   In what way is it intended to involve the affected public or the public in general in the decision-making process ' so that the need for rearguard actions to protect the environment is reduced.

(7)   Is it a fact that the real need is to change the way in which land use decisions are made.

(8)   If so, what changes have been made in the way in which the Government makes its land use decisions.

Dr Cass - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   None. It is the responsibility of the Department or organisation putting forward a proposal to initiate the related environmental impact statement .Nevertheless, my Department has indicated in response to inquiries in numerous cases, that impact statements should be prepared.

(2)   Environmental impact statements have been prepared on the proposed Googong Dam, on the proposed Molonglo Parkway, on the proposed telecommunications tower on Black Mountain, on the proposed water pipeline between Lock and Kimba in South Australia and on the proposed Marri woodchip project in Western Australia. A considerable number are being prepared on a wide range of subjects still under consideration. These include land acquisition, dam, airport and building construction, housing development and roads.

(3)   Impact statements will be released to the public except on those occasions where it is not in the public interest to do so, for example where land speculation might be encouraged or where national security might be endangered.

(4)   No. This is a matter for the department or organisation putting forward a proposal, though in the interests of 'open government' I would hope that they will do so.

(5)   Proposals currently under consideration are designed to give the public an opportunity to participate in decisions on environmentally important issues. An example of the type of public participation that is in mind is provided by the Public Hearing on the Molonglo Parkway which has just concluded. The opportunity for public comment or involvement will come before the decision on the proposal is made.

(6)   See answer to (5) above.

(7)   While this is only part of the problem, it is a very significant aspect. The environmental impact statement technique covers a much wider field, but land use is often a fundamental part of the decision.

(8)   Through the use of the Environmental Impact Statement procedure, environmental considerations including land use are receiving greater attention in decision making than they did previously. In addition the Australian Advisory Committee on the Environment is currently investigating the question of land use planning in Australia, and my Department is examining ways in which better decisions on land use can be encouraged. However it will be apparent that constitutional power over land use rests with the States, some of which have in recent years been paying greater attention to this problem. Organisations like the State Planning Authority of N.S.W. and the Land Conservation Council of Victoria are examples.

Suggest corrections