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Transcript
Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

ABC Radio Darwin - Friday 20th October 2006

Interview with Minister Campbell on McArthur River Mine decision


JOURNALIST:
(Inaudible)

MINISTER:
Good to be with you:

JOURNALIST:
(Inaudible)

MINISTER:
Well today I've made the decision to approve it. We had to look at the particular issues of national environmental significance and in this case it's freshwater swordfish and migratory birds and we're, I am convinced that the risks to both of the environmental matters can be assuaged, can be managed. We have put in place conditions to ensure that the mine implement a freshwater swordfish managing and monitoring plan and a monitoring plan to assess the impacts of any potential pollution at Bing Bong port on listed migratory birds and to get an independent compliance audit done to make sure that the conditions have been met. These are very stringent conditions; this is an approval granted after an assessment done cooperatively with the Northern Territory Government. I think it will be very good for the Northern Territory this project and I think the environmental risks can be managed appropriately.

JOURNALIST:
(Inaudible)

MINISTER:
Well the two governments have done an exhaustive assessment of this and we believe that they can be managed. I think it sends a signal that is a very useful one to send: you can have development, you can have mining take place but you can also have a very good outcome for the environment. We believe that you can have a win-win, we think this is a good project for the Northern Territory and that it can be done while protecting the environment.

JOURNALIST:
(Inaudible)

MINISTER:
Yes, that is. I've made that decision today; that should allow the mine to go ahead. I think it's the right decision for Australia, the right decision for the territory and that it will certainly ensure that the environment is protected as part of that decision.

JOURNALIST:
(Inaudible)

MINISTER:
Oh look this has been a very long and thorough approvals process. The Indigenous issues are not ones that come before me; I have quite specifics matters I need to look at they are to do with the nationally environmentally significant issues: migratory birds and the freshwater swordfish. I've looked at those from the Commonwealth's perspectives, I'm very satisfied they can be managed. I have enormous respect for the Indigenous Australians and their culture but that is not a matter that I have as part of my process.

JOURNALIST:
(Inaudible)

MINISTER:
Oh look I can understand why Barb would want to appeal to me as a last resort; I have a lot of respect for her views and her position, but I think you're quite right - these are primarily matters that she should work out within her own party and I don't want to interfere in that process.

JOURNALIST:
(Inaudible)

MINISTER:
I have decided that the mine can go ahead and that it's got the approval of the Commonwealth Government as of today and I'm convinced that those risks can be managed.

JOURNALIST:
(Inaudible)

MINISTER:
My pleasure, thank you.

Commonwealth of Australia