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Tuesday, 6 March 1973
Page: 275

Mr Lynch asked the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, upon notice:

(1)   Has the Government publicly confirmed its acceptance of the polluter pays principle as adopted by the Organisation for Economic and Co-operative Development.

(2)   If not, why not.

Dr Cass - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

As a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Australia has adopted OECD's guiding principles concerning the international economic aspects of environmental policies, including the polluter pays principle. When in opposition we supported the previous Government's acceptance of the principle and since my appointment I have publicly indicated the Government's support for the polluter pays principle.

The Environment: Impact Statements (Question No. 108)

Mr Lynch asked the Minister for the

Environment and Conservation, upon notice:

(1)   Has the Government implemented an environment impact statement procedure.

(2)   If so, what does this procedure entail.

(3)   To what extent does the procedure differ from that adopted by the previous Government.

(4)   Have any decisions been made which will effect the environment directly or indirectly.

(5)   If so, (a) were impact statements relating to those decisions examined by the Government and (b) when will the impact statements be made public.

Dr Cass - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   to (5) At his press conference on 13th February 1973 the Prime Minister said that the Government had made the following decisions on impact statements.

As an interim measure the principles developed by the previous Government be adopted immediately and extended in accordance with the next recommendation; in addition, environmental impact statements be required at the Minister's discretion after consultation with appropriate Ministers, where a proposal has significant environmental consequences and where Commonwealth funds are involved and/or where Commonwealth constitutional power is involved; as from 1st January 1974 the provisions of this paragraph to become mandatory without any discretion at all and the proposing Department or Authority be required to arrange, through the Department of the Environment and Conservation, for public hearings in the case of all impact statements involving the Commonwealth in order to ensure that the public is given an opportunity to express its views on the environmental impact of a proposal prior to the particular impact statement being prepared; the Department of the Environment and Conservation in consultation with other interested Departments to be directed to prepare draft guidelines for the requirements for and preparation of environmental impact statements and to advise on the need for and, if appropriate, the form of covering legislation. This report should be available for the Minister to put a Submission to Cabinet in time to permit any legislation to be brought forward in the Budget Session; and a public announcement be made on the decisions reached in this matter.

An impact statement on the Black Mountain Communications Tower was released to the public on 28th February 1973.

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