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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3162

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) am asked the Prime Minister, upon notice, on S October 1977:

(   1 ) On what date did the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development receive the final report of the Fraser Island Environmental Inquiry.

(2)   On what dates, in what form and with what results has the Government approached the Queensland Government to implement the Inquiry's suggestion that the 2 governments should jointly undertake research into the effects on the regional economy of a decision not to approve the export of minerals from Fraser Island.

(3)   Which Federal Departments have undertaken this research.

Mr Malcolm Fraser - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(   1 ) On 2 1 October 1976, Dr John Hookey, the Presiding Commissioner, forwarded four copies of the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry to my colleague, the Minister for Environment Housing and Community Development.

(2)   and (3) Following the Commonwealth's decision on Fraser Island sand mining, the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments agreed to establish a joint committee to consider what action might be necessary to offset the adverse effects of the Commonwealth's decision on the economy in the Maryborough region. The committee met on three occasions- 24 December 1976, 4 January 1977 and 14 January 1977. The committee examined a range of proposals involving Commonwealth assistance and the two Governments finally agreed on 2 February 1977 at a meeting between the Queensland Premier and the then Acting Minister for National Resources, the Hon. P. J. Nixon, M.P. on a Commonwealth grant of $10m to be spent at the State's discretion on employment creating activity in the Maryborough region- $lm m 1976-77 and $3m in each of the three succeeding years.

The Queensland Government did not propose for the Committee's consideration a research program to monitor the effects on the economy of Maryborough of the Commonwealth's decision on Fraser Island sand mining, nor has any request been received from the Queensland Government since then to initiate such a research program.

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