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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

17 April 2002

Christmas Island Immigration Centre to Meet Best Practice Environmental Management


The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced that, in accordance with the provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act), he has decided to grant exemptions from some provisions of the Act in relation to the proposed Immigration Reception and Processing Centre and associated infrastructure on Christmas Island.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 that protect biodiversity in Commonwealth areas such as Christmas Island will continue to apply. Any works that may affect the Christmas Island National Park will also need to comply with the management plan for the Park and will require appropriate authorisation.

"I am satisfied that it is in the national interest that the design, construction and operation of the Immigration Reception and Processing Centre and associated infrastructure be allowed to proceed as quickly as possible," said Dr Kemp.

Even though the formal processes of assessment and approval under the EPBC Act will not apply, the Government is committed to best practice in environmental management for the Centre. This will include:

These measures will be undertaken in consultation with Environment Australia.

"These measures, together with the EPBC Regulations and the management plan for the National Park, will protect the environment of Christmas Island", Dr Kemp said.

Vital protection will be provided to the National Park and the important flora and fauna on Christmas Island including the Abbott's Booby bird and the red crab.

"The Centre will be built on land currently being mined that is outside the National Park. The cessation of mining on this land has the potential to enhance the protection of the surrounding National Park," Dr Kemp said.

The notices of exemption under sections 158 and 303A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and accompanying statements of reasons can be viewed on the Environment Australia website at http://www.ea.gov.au/epbc/news/index.html

Media contact:
Catherine Job (Dr Kemp's office) (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia