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Wednesday, 11 September 1996
Page: 3291


Senator MARGETTS(3.59 p.m.) —I certainly hope that is the case. I guess we are relying on the minister's word that that is the case. So it is not a technical amendment so much as an amendment to the actual wording of the amendment. It was not a drafting error; it was an actual amendment. I now seek leave to move amendments 15, 16, 17, 19, 21 and 22, standing in my name, together.


The CHAIRMAN —Leave is granted.


Senator MARGETTS —I move:

(15)   Clause 107, page 90 (after line 19), after paragraph (a), insert:

      (aa)   the areas if any within the airport site which the airport lessee company, in consultation with State or Territory and Federal conservation bodies, identifies are environmentally significant; and.

(16)   Clause 107, page 91 (after line 17), after paragraph (a), insert:

      (aa)   the areas if any within the airport site which the airport lessee company, in consultation with State or Territory and Federal conservation bodies, identifies are environmentally significant; and

(17)   Clause 118, page 97 (after line 8), after paragraph (a), insert:

      (aa)   the effect that the carrying out of the strategy would be likely to have on:

            (i)   biota or habitat; or

            (ii)   natural or heritage values; or

            (iii)   sites of significance to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people;

(19)   Clause 124, page 101 (after line 9), after paragraph (a), insert:

      (aa)   impacts on biota or habitat; or

      (ab) interference with sites of heritage value; or

      (ac)   interference with sites of significance to Aboriginal or Torres Strait people; or

(21)   Clause 125, page 101 (after line 27), after paragraph (a), insert:

      (aa)   monitoring, mitigating, remedying or rectifying contraventions of section 124 regulations relating to impacts on biota or habitat; or

   (ab)   monitoring, mitigating, remedying or rectifying contraventions of section 124 regulations relating to interference with sites of heritage value; or

      (ac)   monitoring, mitigating, remedying or rectifying contraventions of section 124 regulations relating to interference with sites of significance to indigenous people; or

(22)   Clause 128, page 104 (lines 2 and 3), omit "124(1)(a), (b) or (c) or 125(1)(a), (b) or (c)", substitute "124(1)(a), (aa), (ab), (ac), (b) or (c) or 125(1)(a), (aa), (ab), (ac), (b) or (c)".

The major shortfall of the regulations themselves is twofold. They only cover the on-site impact of pollution waste and noise impact other than from aircraft in flight. They do not cover the general impact of activity on habitat and biota. So if you are looking at the effect of a particular strategy, we have included biota or habitat, natural or heritage values and sites of significance to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

The current wording does not consider the impact of general activity, as I said, and does not consider the impact of all activities or activities that affect off-site environments. The lessees do need to consider such general and off-site impacts in their strategy, but government cannot draft regulations on those areas. The fact that the restriction is specific also casts doubt on the necessity of the lessee considering such impacts, since there is no explicit requirement to consider them. The requirements of the strategy also do not explicitly refer to noise impacts, so the regulations may cast doubt on their inclusion, particularly because noise was explicitly included in requirements for what must be included in the master plan and development plan.

My amendments to clause 107 would include biota, habitat and these other issues in the strategy. Clause 118 indicates that the minister must consider the noise impact. My amendment to this clause adds the need for the minister to consider impact on biota and habitat, natural or heritage values and sites of significance to indigenous people.

These amendments add to clause 124 the ability to regulate regarding biota and habitat, heritage value and areas of significance to Aboriginal people. Airport activities may impact on such things and regulations may be worthwhile, even if they are only guidelines as to what the lessee must consider and what the lessee must do in the way of examining the impact.

Clause 125 switches from prevention or minimisation of impacts to monitoring, remedying or rectifying impacts. My amendments also extend these regulations to biota and habitat, heritage and significance for indigenous people, in the same way. Whilst it might be considered that there are powers under other acts which might allow such things to occur, if the bill specifies that `the minister may make regulations on the following', it could well be argued by companies involved that regulations falling outside that in relation to airports may fall outside the purview, or it might not be a natural way of thinking by the relevant minister in terms of what is required to regulate the activity in and around airports—especially, as I said, the fact that many FAC airports around Australia include a buffer zone. Many of those buffer zones, by historical accident, include some very important areas of remnant urban bushland or even rural bushland. So it is important that there is at least the means by which this is considered to be part of what a minister can do in helping to look after the area held under a lease.