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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
30 January 1998
The Federal Government has released a report by an independent auditor on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Badgery's Creek airport.
Environment Minister Robert Hill says the report delivers on a key promise by the Howard Government to ensure that the EIS process would be open and transparent.
Senator Hill says the report is a valuable part of the EIS process.
"The government appointed SMEC Australia Pty Ltd to review the technical aspects of the draft EIS and suggest improvements to the process.
"This is the first time a government has appointed an independent auditor for an EIS process, a move not required by law.
"The release and tabling of SMEC's report will ensure the people of western Sydney are fully informed about the technical aspects of the draft EIS.
"It is important to bear in mind that during the normal course of an EIS process, a draft EIS is released for public comment. We are currently at that stage in the EIS process for the proposed Badgery's Creek airport.
"It is at this stage that stakeholders, the community and other interested parties can offer criticism as to what they see as being the shortcomings of the EIS.
"The proponent of the project, in this case the Department of Transport, can then assess and consider those criticisms before submitting its final EIS.
"I am advised that the report by the independent auditor indicates that the Draft EIS generally satisfies the requirements of the guidelines laid down by the government.
"The independent auditor has, however, highlighted aspects of the Draft EIS which it sees as being deficient.
"The Minister for Transport and Regional Development, Mark Vaile, has acknowledged that the independent auditor's comments will be taken into account in the preparation of the final EIS.
"The findings of the report will also assist the community in making their submissions on the Draft EIS. The independent auditor will provide a second report on the final EIS which will also be tabled in Parliament."
Copies of the report will be displayed at centres where the Draft EIS is on display. Other details of how the report can be obtained will be advertised shortly.
Media contact - Matt Brown 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515.
January 30, 1998