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Thursday, 7 October 1971
Page: 2019

Mr HAMER (ISAACS, VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts and I preface it by referring to a statement issued by the Minister for the Interior in which he referred to the establishment of an advisory council on the projected use of Commonwealth land. I ask the Minister whether this council will be similar to the land use committees in the States? What will be the responsibilities and powers of this council? Will it deal with all Commonwealth Territories?

Mr HOWSON (CASEY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Environment, Aborigines and the Arts) - The announcement by the Minister for the Interior dealt mainly with a national park in Arnhem Land. However, I am happy to inform the House that the land use advisory authority mentioned in the Press statement is now to be used in all cases in which there is a need to reconcile conservation and economic development interests. The Government proposes to refer to this body matters arising not only in the Northern Territory, which was the subject of the Minister's statement, but also all other cases relating to Commonwealth land within Australia.

The Commonwealth proposes that the authority will be headed by an independent chairman, with some officials, and also representatives of both conservation and industry organisations. We hope that by so doing we will be setting an example in environmental matters of this nature because I am certain that in the months to come these conflicts of interest between conservation and economic development interests will be of growing importance to the nation. We believe we should set an example in reconciling these conflicting interests.

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