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Tuesday, 17 August 1993
Page: 141

(Question No. 281)

Senator Chamarette asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories, upon notice, on 20 May 1993:

  (1) Did the Wetlands Conservation Society of Western Australia nominate the Beeliar Wetlands for inclusion on the register of the National Estate in 1985.

  (2) What action has been undertaken by the Australian Heritage Commission to process this nomination.

  (3) Why has there been a delay of 8 years in processing this nomination.

  (4) Has there been any action by an agency of the Western Australian Government which has led to this delay.

  (5) What action will be taken to ensure the finalisation of this issue and ensure the protection of this important wetland area, which is now one of the few remaining wetland areas on the Swan Coastal Plain.

Senator Schacht —The Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) Yes.

  (2) Assessment of the nomination is nearly complete. The Commission has comprehensively reviewed all available published and unpublished documents relating to the area, and consulted experts in a number of fields. Information has been obtained from the WA Museum, the Department of Planning and Urban Development and its predecessor the State Planning Commission, the Department of Conservation and Land Management, Murdoch University, the WA Environment Protection Authority, the Royal Australasian Ornithological Union, Alcoa of Australia, the Water Authority of Western Australia and the Wetlands Conservation Society.

  (3) As the Wetlands have not been the subject of any Commonwealth decision, and the State Government is moving towards the conservation of this area, processing of the Beeliar nomination has not been allocated a high priority. The Beeliar Wetlands is a large and complex nomination (2700 ha, consisting of two wetland chains, comprising some 22 separate wetlands or groups of wetlands). Investigation and validation of the claimed values, and selection of an appropriate boundary, has also been a complex and lengthy task.

  (4) In June 1992 the Department of Planning and Urban Development provided comments on the Commission's draft assessment of the Beeliar Wetlands. Additional investigations were prompted by those comments.

  (5) When assessment of the nomination is complete the wetlands will be considered by the Commission for entry in the Interim List of the Register of the National Estate. If the wetlands are entered in the Interim List, the protection provisions of the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975 will apply. The Beeliar Wetlands will be protected in the Beeliar Regional Park, which has been proposed by the State Government.