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

FEDERAL COURT REJECTS CHALLENGE TO HILL'S ASSESSMENT OF JABILUKA


1 June 1999

The Federal Court has today determined that a challenge to the Jabiluka environmental assessment process that was conducted by Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill cannot proceed.

Senator Hill has welcomed this finding.

Senator Hill says the government has consistently stated that the environmental assessment process for Jabiluka was rigorous, transparent and met all legal requirements.

"The environmental assessment of the Jabiluka mine was conducted over nearly three years, with around six months for public review of various assessment documents.

"We, in fact, went further than the law required by seeking an independent review of critical issues. The assessment process is clearly consistent with world's best practice."

This Federal Court decision means that an attempt to discredit the assessment process has failed.

The Federal Court was considering an application made on behalf of Yvonne Margarula, the senior traditional owner of the Jabiluka Mineral Lease. The applicant sought to challenge a number of steps taken by Senator Hill in conducting the Jabiluka environmental assessment.

The Federal Court held that none of the steps taken by Senator Hill could be challenged under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.

Mining is occurring at Jabiluka in accordance with the consent of the traditional owners granted in 1982 and confirmed in 1991. Mining has not had any adverse impact on Kakadu National Park.

Media contact - Rod Bruem on 02 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582

Commonwealth of Australia