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Wednesday, 5 May 1993
Page: 148

Senator IAN MACDONALD (3.22 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

  That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Science and Small Business (Senator Schacht), in response to a question without notice asked by Senator Jones this day, relating to a proposed space agency in Queensland.

Senator Schacht raised the concern in some quarters that the Papua New Guinea Government is encouraging, very greatly, the proposal to establish a space base on an island in New Guinea. A week or so ago I was quoted in the Cairns Post in relation to that matter. My concern is that both the Queensland and the Australian governments are not giving sufficient encouragement to private groups who have shown an interest in the construction of the space base in the Cape York area. The benefits that could come from the construction of that space base for Queensland, in particular—

  Senator Kernot interjecting

Senator IAN MACDONALD —I am surprised that Senator Kernot always knocks anything that is likely to bring benefits and development to Queensland. The thing that is of concern is that people wishing to create sensitive developments in those areas are frightened away at the mere thought of having to get through the maze of bureaucracy and red tape that goes on in dealing with Aboriginal and environmental claims.

  I am not suggesting that those two areas are not important. What I am saying is that it is very difficult for private companies to get involved and to understand what needs to be done. That is where I think both the State and Federal governments need to take a lead. They need to show some leadership in dealing with conservation and Aboriginal matters in Cape York and pave the way for private developers to get involved in the space base in those areas.

  So I would ask that Senator Schacht, in his new capacity as the relevant Minister, seriously give some thought to making some sort of announcement which would encourage people to develop in those areas sensitively and in compliance with environmental and Aboriginal concerns, to get the Government to say that it will lead the way on those issues and in that way encourage development in those areas.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.