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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
11 June 1997
Senator Robert Hill, Minister for the Environment, and Senator Warwick Parer announced today that new arrangements have been agreed with WMC (Olympic Dam Corporation) Pty Ltd (WMC) for community involvement in the oversight of the environmental management process for the Olympic Dam copper-uranium gold mine in South Australia.
A Community Consultative Forum will be established comprising representatives from key stakeholder groups such as the conservation movement and local residents and landholders. The forum will be provided with access to information relating to the environmental management of Olympic Dam, including the outcome of the annual independent audit of the environmental management process.
'The establishment of the Forum will maintain a regular flow of information to the public about the environmental performance at Olympic Dam. WMC already makes public the Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan, an annual Environment Management Report and an annual Environment Radiation Report relating to Olympic Dam. Community participation in the ongoing review of environmental management at Olympic Dam will help ensure that the highest possible environmental standards are maintained.'
Senator Hill welcomed WMC's commitment to an annual independent audit of the environmental management process at Olympic Dam.
'WMC's adoption of an independent auditing regime and its support for the Community Consultative Forum demonstrate its commitment to open dialogue with the community and to the highest levels of environmental protection.'
The forum will meet twice a year. Meetings of the Forum will be linked to meetings of a revamped Olympic Dam Environment Consultative Committee ('ODECC'). ODECC is made up of representatives from the SA and Commonwealth governments and WMC.
'Co-ordinating the Forum meetings with ODECC meetings will ensure constructive dialogue between the community, government and WMC. The new arrangements represent a partnership between industry, government and the community. The environment can only benefit from such a co-operative approach.'
One of the Forum meetings each year will be on-site at Olympic Dam. Senator Hill noted that the new arrangements are consistent with last year's South Australian Parliamentary Committee Report on Olympic Dam, which recommended that steps be taken to facilitate the free flow of information to the public.
'The message from the Coalition Government is clear. We expect developers to meet high environmental standards. In return, the Government will ensure that regulatory processes are efficient and that delays and duplication are eliminated.'
'Australians want the environment protected and they want economic prosperity. This Government is determined to deliver both by working in partnership with the community and industry.'
The final terms of reference for the Forum and its membership will be finalised in the next few weeks.
Contact: Matt Brown, Senator Hill, 0419 693 515