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Friday, 6 December 1985
Page: 3166


Senator CHIPP —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. On 12 September this year in answer to a question, Senator Gietzelt said that the Minister for Defence had `assessed Jervis Bay as suitable on environmental and safety grounds for visits by nuclear powered warships'. Since then the Democrats have asked twice, and now I ask for the third time: When was this assessment made? Is there a report or a statement? Will it be made publicly available?


Senator GARETH EVANS —I am advised by the Minister for Defence that assessments were made in 1976 and 1983 by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission and Defence officials, acting jointly, for short term visits by the USS Truxtun and the USS Sea Dragon respectively. Documents and other information relating to these assessments are being compiled in response to Senator Vigor's letter to Mr Beazley of 18 September and these will be released to him as soon as possible. Steps are being taken to establish whether material that was classified at that time by the AAEC for national security purposes might now be declassified. This process has been largely responsible for the delays in responding to Senator Vigor.