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

ENVIRONMENTAL CLEARANCE FOR NELLY BAY PROPOSAL


26 May 1999

Federal Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill, today provided environmental clearance for the proposed Nelly Bay Harbour development on Magnetic Island near Townsville.

An extensive environmental impact assessment process, involving independent review of the Nelly Bay Environmental Impact Statement by Environment Australia, has demonstrated that the proposal can be constructed and operated so that its environmental impacts are acceptable.

Senator Hill recommended that permits for the Nelly Bay proposal should be subject to a range of stringent conditions designed to protect the environment, especially the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. These conditions require:

These conditions are expected to be implemented through permits under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.

The site of the proposed Nelly Bay Harbour has been significantly degraded by previous works. The current proposal involves construction of a ferry terminal, boat ramp, tourist accommodation and facilities, commercial areas and residential precincts. The development would utilise structures already completed at the site.

Senator Hill indicated that compliance with the environmental recommendations will ensure no significant impact on the heritage values of the adjacent Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The main environmental attributes requiring protection are coral ecosystems on an adjoining platform reef. Surveys indicate that these ecosystems are healthy and have recovered from previous works. The proposed conditions will provide strict ongoing protection for these ecosystems.

Media Contact: Rod Bruem (Senator Hill) 02 62 77 7640 or 041112 8582

Commonwealth of Australia