ENVIRONMENT, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS
Senator SIEWERT—I want to ask about Ningaloo and the progress on the potential World Heritage listing of Ningaloo. The last time we discussed this, if I recall rightly, you were still discussing it with the Western Australian government. There were some negotiations over the various proposed boundaries. I am looking for an update about where we are with those negotiations and whether there has been any progress.
Mr Bailey—Yes, there certainly has, Senator. The minister has been conducting those discussions with the Western Australian Premier and the environment minister in Western Australia. They met earlier this month to continue that discussion. We believe that those discussions will be concluded and the nomination will still be submitted before the 1 February deadline in 2010.
Senator SIEWERT—In terms of the boundary, is there agreement now over the boundary that will be nominated?
Mr Bailey—The discussions that were conducted earlier in the month were largely around that. They are very closely being finalised.
Senator SIEWERT—If I recall correctly, I understand that part of the boundary negotiations were around the Muiron. That is correct, is it not?
Mr Bailey—That is correct.
Senator SIEWERT—Are they likely to be included or excluded?
Mr Bailey—I would not give a view on that because it is a discussion between the minister and the Premier at this stage.
Senator SIEWERT—Is there likely to be an announcement before the nomination? On 1 February, is there likely to be an announcement of what the boundary will be?
Mr Bailey—I expect that the minister will launch the nomination that will include the first boundary before 1 February, yes.
Senator SIEWERT—Is there a timeline for that?
Mr Bailey—Not at this stage, but we would anticipate that it would be late December or January.
Senator SIEWERT—Thank you very much. That sounds like very promising progress.