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

COMMUNITY GIVEN MORE TIME FOR AIRPORT EIS COMMENT


21 December 1997
(152/97)

The public will be given extra time to examine and comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Badgery's Creek airport.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has announced a two week extension to the public review period to take into account the holiday season.

Senator Hill says this will extend the public review period to 14 weeks with a new closing date for public submissions of March 30, 1998.

"The two week extension will ensure the community is not disadvantaged as a result of the holiday season and will give the public the extra time they need to be a part of the process.

"The public will now have 14 weeks to review the Draft EIS and make their comments - well in excess of the minimum 28 days required under legislation."

Senator Hill says the community's access to information about the environmental aspects of the proposed airport had also been increased by the Government's appointment of an independent auditor.

"The Government has taken the unprecedented step of appointing SMEC Australia to conduct an independent audit of the EIS process.

"This appointment is not required by legislation. It is an additional step taken by the Howard Government to ensure a technically rigorous and transparent EIS process."

Senator Hill has also decided to extend until 16 January 1998 the time for SMEC Australia to submit the first audit report.

"The extension will ensure the company has sufficient time after the release of the Draft EIS to complete its audit of the document. SMEC's report will be printed and distributed as soon as possible after I receive it to ensure that it too is available for the community to consider with the Draft EIS.

"SMEC Australia will report again following the public review period and completion of the supplement to the Draft EIS by the Department of Transport and Regional Development. Both audit reports will be tabled in the Parliament."

Media inquiries:
Matt Brown (Minister) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Jim Cannon (Department) 02 6274 1076
December 21, 1997
(152/97)

Commonwealth of Australia