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Saturday, 18 December 1993
Page: 5186

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (9.24 p.m.) —On the contrary, subclause (b), as now amended, says that the arbitral body must take into account:

. . . any assessment of the effect of the proposed act on the natural environment of the land or waters concerned:

(i)made by a court or a tribunal; or

(ii)made, or commissioned by, the Crown in any capacity or by a statutory authority.

The proper, formal, official environmental impact statements that are made by state or territory authorities not only should, but must, be taken into account by the tribunal in question.

  Our amendment was simply designed to make clear that tribunals did not have to take into account any assessment at all that was made by any body at all, including perhaps some privately commissioned body or privately commissioned research of a very self-interested kind. Tribunals still retain the capacity to take that into account if they want to—it is not excluded—but they do not have to take it into account. However, a proper, serious EIS or something of that kind commissioned by a state or territory, or statutory authority, must be taken into account. I think that ought to satisfy Senator Tambling's concerns and those of the territory and states in that respect.