Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications
Answers to questions on notice
Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio
Supplementary Budget Estimates, October 2012
Program: Division or Agency: 5.2: SSD Question
Topic: Response to 2003 Senate
Proof Hansard Page and Date
or Written Question:
Senator Ludlam asked:
Senator LUDLAM: ...Can I ask you to take notice any specifics you can provide, listed by recommendation, that your office is involved with or has been involved with since that report was tabled? For some context, it is my belief that that report has been almost entirely disregarded, that those recommendations have not been taken up at all by anybody. If you have a different view, could you provide us-I will put this to the minister in a moment because I recognise some of these are not in your domain-with any evidence at all from the OSS's point of view that any of those recommendations have been taken up?
Mr Hughes: Did you have any specific recommendations that you would like to discuss?
Senator LUDLAM: All of the recommendations in that report that relate to Kakadu. It was a comprehensive piece of work.
Mr Hughes: We will need to take that on notice.
Senator LUDLAM: Understood. Good morning, Minister. Some of this is out of Mr Hughes's bailiwick. Concerning the 2003 recommendations of the Senate environment committee inquiry into uranium mining in Australia, can I get a reading from the environment minister, through you, as to which of those recommendations have been disregarded and which were acted upon in the nine years since the report was tabled?
Senator Conroy: I am happy to chase up to see what the government's response was and then where our government response is. I am happy to take that on notice for you, Senator Ludlam.
The Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee's 2003 report: Regulating the Ranger, Jabiluka, Beverley and Honeymoon uranium mines was overtaken by the previous government's response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry and Resources report: Australia's uranium: Greenhouse friendly fuel for an energy hungry world, tabled on 29 March 2007.
However, a number of the recommendations from the 2003 report have been addressed by Ranger uranium mine regulatory arrangements and associated institutional, monitoring and reporting activities implemented since that time. These include:
•Representation of Mirrar interests through the membership of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation on the Ranger and Jabiluka Minesite Technical Committees (Recommendation 1).
•Development of a Mining Management Plan for Ranger which is subject to annual review by stakeholders (Recommendation 2).
•The roles and responsibilities of the relevant government parties are clearly defined under the current Working Arrangements, and associated compliance (enforcement) and information policies and procedures are in place (Recommendations 2, 3 and 4).
•Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ERA) environment management systems at Ranger are ISO 14001 certified (Recommendation 5).
•The Supervising Scientist's Division undertakes continuous monitoring and public reporting of surface water quality data during the wet season and ERA undertakes extensive groundwater modelling and monitoring, including around Pit#1 and the Tailings Storage Facility (Recommendations 6, 9 and 11).
•The Alligator Rivers Region Technical Committee reviews the appropriateness and quality of scientific research informing current regulatory processes, as well as operational, rehabilitation and closure planning at Ranger (Recommendation 10).
•There is increasing research focus on the efficiency and use of wetland filters at Ranger during the operational and post closure phases (Recommendation 12).