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

Strict Conditions Set for Hinchinbrook

22 August 1996.

The Federal Government has laid down strict environmental conditions for further work to be done on the proposed Port Hinchinbrook development at Oyster Point.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has insisted that the Port Hinchinbrook developer enter into a deed of agreement to ensure best practice engineering methods are employed in further work on the site.

The deed of agreement has been signed by the Commonwealth, the Queensland Government, the Cardwell Council Shire, and the developer, Mr Keith Williams. The approvals granted by Senator Hill relate to dredging a marina access channel and implementing a beach and foreshore management plan.

The deed of agreement ensures:

Senator Hill, who has released a key scientific report on the project, says the decision to allow the work is based on the best scientific advice available.

"The scientific advice I have before me indicates that the world heritage values of the region will not be threatened provided best practice engineering methods are employed.

"Having given approval for these specified activities to proceed, the Government has moved to ensure that the developer is legally obliged to deliver environmentally responsible construction processes.

"The deed of agreement means that we now have in place all the necessary conditions to ensure the protection of the world heritage values in the immediate vicinity of the site."

Senator Hill has also acknowledged the concerns expressed in relation to broader regional impacts associated with developments in the Hinchinbrook region.

Senator Hill has moved to address these concerns by reaching agreement with the Queensland Government on a Hinchinbrook regional plan.

A comprehensive regional plan will be developed which will provide for:

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)and the Australian Heritage Commission will be full participants in the development of the Hinchinbrook regional plan.

GBRMPA will also move to immediately develop Dugong management plans for areas of the Marine Park immediately adjacent to the Hinchinbrook Channel.

In addition, a recently released draft Plan of Management for Hinchinbrook Island National Park aims to provide for the orderly control of visitors to Hinchinbrook Island, emphasising a commitment to preserve the island's wilderness characteristics.

For further comment contact Matt Brown, 06 277 7640.

Copies of a summary of protection arrangements for Hinchinbrook Channel, the Reichelt Report, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments on the development of a regional plan are available from Senator Hill's office.

Commonwealth of Australia