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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

10 May 2000

STRICT CONDITIONS FOR CHRISTMAS ISLAND LAUNCH FACILITY


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has recommended more than 65 strict environmental conditions for the proposed satellite launch facility on Christmas Island.

Senator Hill's recommendations to the Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government and the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources were the outcome of an environmental impact assessment process carried out under the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974. The process included the preparation of an Environment Impact Statement (EIS) by the proponent - Asia Pacific Space Centre Pty Ltd - which was released as a draft for public comment in August 1999. After completion of the EIS, an Environment Assessment Report was prepared by Environment Australia for consideration by Senator Hill.

"Christmas Island has a natural environment that is in many ways unique. It possesses a range of plants and animals, including endangered species, that are found no-where else. The small but vibrant and culturally diverse island community is also an important feature of the island," Senator Hill said.

"After consideration of the Environment Assessment Report and EIS, I have decided that there is no environmental reason why the project should not proceed provided the proponent accepts the stringent environmental conditions set out in my recommendations," Senator Hill said.

Specific issues addressed in the recommendations include:

In making these recommendations Senator Hill noted that their implementation might in some cases require that launch activity at the proposed facility be halted temporarily or permanently if monitoring detects significant negative impacts upon the environment.

10 May 2000

Media contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia