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Thursday, 5 April 1984
Page: 1349

(Question No. 663)

Senator Jones asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, upon notice, on 28 February 1984:

What measures can the Federal Government take, apart from refusing to issue export licences, to prevent mining of mineral sands on Moreton Island if mining companies decide to risk stockpiling mined sand in the hope of a future change in government policy?

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The Government has no reason to consider that mining companies are likely to mine and stockpile mineral sands on Moreton Island. Should such a project be planned, however, the measures available to the Commonwealth would depend on the nature of the proposal.

The honourable senator would be aware that Moreton Island is on the Register of the National Estate and every Commonwealth Minister, Department or Authority of the Commonwealth is bound by section 30 of the Australian Heritage Commission Act. This section provides, inter alia, that before any action is taken which might adversely affect an item on the Register of the National Estate, that action shall not be taken unless the relevant Minister is satisfied that there is no prudent or feasible alternative and that further, the Minister shall before taking any such action, consult with the Australian Heritage Commission. Accordingly, a mining proposal which involved any action at all by the Commonwealth would be subject to the provisions of section 30 of the Australian Heritage Commission Act.