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

Media Release

Hill Delivers on Jabiluka Commitment


28 June 1996
(82/96)

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has announced that the application by ERA to mine uranium at Jabiluka in the Northern Territory is to be subject to a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Senator Hill has also confirmed his support for a comprehensive social impact study being undertaken of development on Aboriginal communities.

Senator Hill says the EIS process confirms the high priority the Government places on protection of the environment.

"We gave a clear commitment that there will be no secret deals and no short cuts when it comes to assessing applications for new uranium mines.

"An EIS is the most appropriate mechanism for identifying the environmental issues raised by the ERA proposal.

"There will be a high level of public participation in the EIS ensuring that the process is both open and transparent.

"That involvement will begin with the public being given the opportunity during the next month to contribute to the guidelines which will set the parameters for the EIS.

"The public will then be given a further chance to comment once the draft EIS is completed."

Senator Hill says he will support a social impact study to be run parallel with but independent of the EIS.

"The Government has clearly stated that the views of the traditional owners are vitally important.

"We are still in the process of discussing the shape and form of the study with the Northern Land Council, ERA and the Northern Territory Government.

"I will support the establishment of a steering committee made up of representatives of the Traditional Owners, the NLC, the NT Government, ERA, ANCA and the Supervising Scientist to manage the study.

"The committee would be assisted by a coordinator or coordinators appointed following further talks with the NLC, NT Government, and ERA.

"The committee would have an independent chair who would be appointed following further discussion with the NLC, ERA and the NT Government.

"The study would be completed within less than 12 months with a budget in the order of $200,000 to be primarily funded by the Commonwealth and ERA.

"I envisage a process in which:

Senator Hill says the EIS and the social impact study show the Government is committed to delivering the best possible outcome for the environment, industry and the local indigenous people.

The EIS will be a joint Commonwealth-Northern Territory Government activity. The EIS process will be managed for the Commonwealth by the Environment Protection Agency which has prepared draft guidelines for the EIS.

The draft guidelines for the EIS will be available for public comment until 29 July 1996. Copies can be obtained by calling 1800 811 109 (toll free) and are also located on the internet

For further comment contact: Matt Brown on 06 277 7640

Jim Cannon (EPA) on 06 274 1076 or 018 621817

Commonwealth of Australia