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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Environmental impact assessment for Barrage opening proposal

Media release
8 January 2009
PG/195

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A proposal to transfer sea water from the Coorong to freshwater Lake Alexandrina has been determined by the Department of Environment, Heritage, Water and the Arts to be a controlled action under national environment law.

Environment Minister, Peter Garrett said today’s decision meant the proposal would be subject to a rigorous process of environmental assessment and public consultation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

“The assessment will examine the potential impacts of South Australia’s proposal on several nationally protected matters, including the ecological character of Ramsar wetlands, threatened species and migratory species,” Mr Garrett said.

“The South Australian Government is now required to develop an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for assessment and public comment.

“This process will also be required to consider other long term options for protecting this important system and prevent acidification in the Lower Lakes.

“While this will be a thorough and rigorous assessment, my department will be working closely with the South Australia Government to ensure that this process is completed as quickly as possible.”

Invitations for public comment will be advertised in the print media and through the department’s website www.environment.gov.au/epbc

A final decision on whether or not the proposal to transfer sea water from the Coorong to Lake Alexandrina can proceed will be made at the conclusion of this EIS and public comment process.

Background information:

Commonwealth of Australia