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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5315


Senator PANIZZA (8.48 p.m.) —I fully understood what the minister had to say. By the way, that was a government amendment and the government failed to get the Australian Democrats on side. I will not go into that now, but we put our position on every amendment to the bill up-front. That was the only amendment where the government failed to get the Democrats onside. So let us put that into perspective.

  I fully understand that the minister says that a mine will be allowed to run its full course, providing of course the lease is renewed before it expires. We must remember that a mine does not necessarily only have one life. The minister knows that himself. Some of the Victorian goldfields are now reopening after being closed for so many years. If there had not been such a hostile government there for 10 years, perhaps more would have opened, which would have got the economy going better.

  We have to look at the situation where a mine, for instance, closes for economic reasons. Although in most cases the lease may be kept up—in some cases the lease is not kept up—if a different company wants to crank it up again, it is in a hard negotiating situation. So we have that to worry about. I just thought I would put that on the record. Also for the record, I referred to mineral rights owned by other than the Crown or to the Crown owning mineral rights. The government accepted an amendment from the Greens. I think that was dangerous. The minister jokingly suggested that I should declare my interest, and I declare it now.