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Thursday, 10 October 1985
Page: 989

Senator COATES —I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services. Some time ago the Commonwealth offered to sell Tasman Island back to Tasmania for a nominal sum. Is there any reason why the proposed transfer has not yet occurred?

Senator GIETZELT —I understand that in January 1983 the Commonwealth Government offered to sell Tasman Island, which is off the south-east corner of Tasmania, to the Tasmanian Government for $25,000. That was considered a fair and reasonable price but it was rejected by the Tasmanian Government. In May of this year the Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services, Mr Uren, offered it to the Tasmanian Government for $100 on the condition that the Commonwealth Government could maintain the existing lighthouse, that the island would be dedicated for conservation purposes and that the existing historical structures would be maintained. Correspondence was entered into between the two governments and as late as July the Tasmanian Government indicated to the Federal Minister that the matter was under urgent consideration. To date-that is, the first week of October-the Tasmanian Government has not taken up the offer and one wonders why this matter is still in abeyance and has still not been concluded when such a nominal sum is involved. One can only suggest that the Tasmanian Government is rather reluctant to accept the conditions which, I think correctly, the Government has imposed on the Tasmanian Government for the very nominal sum that has been suggested. I suggest to the Tasmanian Government that it hurry up and finalise the proposals or the Federal Government might be persuaded to sell the island to someone like Holmes a Court.