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Thursday, 8 June 1989
Page: 3702

Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE(6.18) —Senator Button made the point that it is not a tax on the uranium industry. I understand that. But it just so happens to be that for the moment the uranium industry, to the extent that Ranger fits within that category, is the only industry that is being taxed. I understand that it is not about the uranium industry. It can be well argued that the effect of uranium mining on the environment is decidedly less than the effect of other extraction industries that are involved in matters such as--

Senator Stone —A great deal less.

Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE —I agree. These include industries that require cyanide solutions and other such processing activities. I understand that. But the truth of the matter is that at the present time the Office of the Supervising Scientist has responsibilities that now go past stages one and two and the original responsibilities given to it under the Act. I assume the Supervising Scientist is collecting base line research data in the Coronation Hill area but I am not certain, having read what I have about his functioning up until now. He is certainly spending somewhere in the range of $650,000 a year in the conservation zone. He is only in the conservation zone because of the existence of the Coronation Hill joint venture project, otherwise he would not be there. The question I am asking is: Why is Ranger required to make a contribution to the funding of his activity which extends past its activity and goes into the conservation zone? In other words, simply put, Ranger is subsidising his environmental considerations in the conservation zone. Senator Button would know better than most that environmental considerations ought always to forerun mining activity. That is exactly why he is in Coronation Hill now. Exploration is taking place. The proven reserves clearly demonstrate that there will be a mine there. So the Office of the Supervising Scientist is now monitoring in advance of mining operations subject to approval from the Government. In fact, the Supervising Scientist is doing work related to a project which is presently taking place to the extent of exploration. I am asking why Coronation Hill is not making a contribution while Ranger is required to carry the difference.