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Tuesday, 17 August 1993
Page: 148

(Question No. 297)

Senator Chamarette asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories, upon notice, on 26 May 1993:

  With reference to the Western Australian Government's proposed re-routing of a powerline from Manjimup to Beenup through high conservation value old-growth Karri forest in the south-west of Western Australia:

  (1) How much of this forest has been (a) nominated for entry on the Register of the National Estate; (b) listed on an interim basis on the Register, or (c) has been entered on the Register.

  (2) Given that the National Forest Policy recognises the significance of old-growth forest and requires protection of identified areas of high conservation value, what steps will be taken to protect this forest, which would be destroyed or degraded by the construction of the powerline.

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

  (1) (a) Approximately 25 kilometres of the 114 kilometre Manjimup to Beenup transmission line route traverses an area which is proposed to be listed on the Register of the National Estate.

  (b) None.

  (c) None.

  The area proposed to be listed on the Register of the National Estate traversed by the Manjimup route has been identified as having potential national estate significance because it contains undisturbed vegetation, diverse vegetation and a unique vegetation assemblage.

  (2) Under the National Forest Policy Statement, State governments have adopted the policy of avoiding the clearing of public native forest for non-forest or plantation establishment wherever possible and, where this is not possible, ensuring that the clearing does not compromise regional conservation and catchment management objectives. Governments have also agreed to protect the nature conservation and catchment values of forests by ensuring that the activities of all agencies will be undertaken in accordance with effective and legally enforceable codes of practice, consistent with those currently applied to forest harvesting.

  The Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975 does not place any legal constraints on the actions of owners of private property or on State or local Governments. Only the actions of the Commonwealth Government are constrained if a place is on the Register of the National Estate. Therefore, while the Commission can provide State governments with advice concerning the protection of National Estate values, it is up to the State government to decide what it will do with this advice. The Commission has not been formally asked by the Western Australian Government to comment on the Manjimup route.