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Friday, 2 December 1983
Page: 3238

Senator REYNOLDS —Is the Minister assisting the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment aware that the Townsville Daily Bulletin today reports the unanimous decision of the Charters Towers Council to call on the Federal Government to extend the period during which the community can fully consider the environmental impact statement on the proposed uranium mine at Ben Lomond in North Queensland? In view of the extreme importance of this matter, can the Minister report on the possibility of the Department of Home Affairs and Environment being able to respond positively to this request?

Senator RYAN —The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided me with some information on the Ben Lomond uranium proposal referred to by Senator Reynolds. The Commonwealth Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act requires that draft environmental impact statements be released for public review for a period of not less than 28 days. However, in relation to major mining proposals it is customary to make environmental impact statements available for public review and comment for longer periods. In the past such statements on uranium mining projects have been made available for comment for up to 67 days. The Government is sympathetic to the request for an extension to the public review period for the Ben Lomond EIS and negotiations with the company to secure an extension beyond the current closing date of 23 December 1983 are now being pursued.