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


29 May 1998

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has determined that a proposal by Asia Pacific Space Centre Pty Ltd (APSC) to build a satellite launching facility on Christmas Island will require the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS).

The proposal was referred to Senator Hill by the Federal Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, Alex Somlyay, as required by the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974.

Senator Hill says the preparation of an environmental impact statement will ensure all environmental impacts of the proposal are fully assessed.

"This will ensure that the highly significant natural and cultural values of the island are fully taken into account.

"Christmas Island contains a number of unique ecosystems and many unique species, including five nationally listed endangered species.

"The key issue for the EIS is to examine any potential impacts on the island's biodiversity and the Commonwealth National Park."

Senator Hill says the EIS process can be completed in a timely manner.

"The Commonwealth is committed to a rigorous, transparent and efficient assessment process for all projects."

In an environmental impact statement, APSC will be required to describe:

Once the environmental impact statement has been written, a draft will be provided to the public for consideration and comment. Those comments must be taken into account by APSC in producing the final report. The final report is then assessed by Environment Australia before advice is provided to the minister.

For further information:
Matt Brown 02 6277 640 or 0419 693515
Jim Cannon 02 62741076

May 29, 1998

Commonwealth of Australia