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Wednesday, 18 September 1996
Page: 3552

Senator MARGETTS —My question is addressed to the Minister for the Environment. Is the minister aware of an application or expression of interest by Victoria Petroleum or any other company to carry out oil and gas exploration on Commonwealth owned land at Point Murat near Cape Range in the north-west of Western Australia in October or November of this year? Given the importance of the natural heritage values of the Cape Range National Park, the nearby Ningaloo Marine Park and the occurrence of unique underground stygofauna, or troglodytes, in the area, will the minister require an environmental impact assessment before any approval to carry out oil or gas exploration in this area is granted? If not, why not?

Senator HILL —I do not personally know a lot about this matter. I gather that my department has some information on it at this preliminary stage. I think the facts are pretty much as Senator Margetts outlined. It has not been designated at this stage. But, now that you have brought it to my attention, I will make some inquiries and ensure that the appropriate course of action is followed.