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

Twofold Bay Draft EIS Guidelines for Comment


27 April 1999

Draft guidelines for the environmental impact assessment of the proposed naval munitions wharf and storage facility at Twofold Bay near Eden, NSW have been released for public comment.

Federal Environment Minister, Robert Hill, says the Department of Defence is required to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) as part of an environmental impact assessment of the proposed development.

"The EIS will identify the likely environmental impacts of the wharf and storage facility before Defence seeks approval for construction.

"Draft guidelines for the contents of the EIS are developed as the first step in the process. For the Twofold Bay EIS this has been done jointly by Environment Australia and the NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning.

"Now is the opportunity for the community and stakeholders to comment on the guidelines to ensure that they include all the relevant issues," Senator Hill said.

The main components of the proposed Defence facility are:

The Twofold Bay wharf and storage facility would replace the current ammunitioning in Sydney Harbour, which is due to finish at the end of this year. If the development is approved, the Department of Defence plans to have the facility constructed by 2001.

The Royal Australian Navy would normally use the facility for between 45 and 70 days a year. At other times the local community would be able to use the wharf and jetty.

For a number of years, the NSW Government has had plans for building a multi-purpose wharf in the area. It is hoped that the Defence wharf will be used by industries in the region.

The Department of Defence has consulted with local stakeholders including the Bega Valley Shire Council, the NSW Office of Marine Administration, Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council, Harris Daishowa (Aust) Pty Ltd, State Forests and other Eden-based interest groups.

Twofold Bay has been chosen as the location for the Defence facility after an extensive and ongoing process. Between 1994 and 1998 a proposal for the Point Wilson East Coast Armament Complex to be built on Port Phillip Bay, Victoria was reviewed by the Standing Committee on Public Works. The Committee found that this location was not suitable and recommended that the Department of Defence re-examine other sites closer to the Fleet exercise area off the NSW coast. The Twofold Bay proposal is the result of this re-examination.

A feasibility study undertaken by the Department of Defence in 1998 found that the Twofold Bay proposal is technically viable.

The Department of Defence's proposal to build a wharf and storage facility has been referred to Senator Hill for environmental assessment under the Commonwealth Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974. Assessment is also required under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Defence only needs to prepare one EIS to meet the requirements of both jurisdictions.

Copies of the Twofold Bay EIS draft guidelines can be obtained by phoning 1800 803 772. They were released for public comment on 27 April 1999. Written submissions may be sent, by 24 May 1999, to:

Twofold Bay Ammunitioning Facility Draft EIS Guidelines
Environment Assessment Branch.
Department of the Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

For more information:
Senator Hill's Office:
Rod Bruem 0411 128 582
Environment Australia:
Eleanor Dean (02) 6274 1817

Commonwealth of Australia