Tiwi Islands – Northern Territory

Senate Inquiry into Tiwi Islands – Press Release 4 Dec 2008

Posted by tiwiccbb on December 4, 2008

Link to Transcripts of Tiwi Senate Hearings – Melville Is, Darwin, Canberra 2009



Greens start Senate Inquiry into Tiwi Islands
Thursday 4th December 2008

The environmental and economic impact of forestry and mining in the Tiwi Islands will be scrutinised under a Senate Inquiry set up by the Australian Greens today.
“The Tiwi Islands, 80km north of Darwin, have significant biodiversity values, with eucalypt forests and tropical savannas existing alongside rainforest,” said Senator Rachel Siewert.
“These forested areas in the Tiwi Islands are now the subject of a major clear-felling and wood chipping project approved by the Howard government in 2001, resulting in deforestation of an estimated 30,000
The committee will look into the impact of existing and proposed forestry and mining operations in the islands, including their compliance with relevant environmental approvals and conditions, reporting by June 2009.

The details of the Inquiry are:
a) an assessment of the environmental, economic and community impacts of
existing and proposed forestry and mining operations on the Tiwi Islands
including compliance with relevant environmental approvals and
b) a review of governance arrangements relating to existing forestry and
mining operations on the Tiwi Islands, including the examination of
consent and approval processes to date;
c) in respect to forestry operations, an examination of the adequacy of
contractual, commercial and legal arrangements between project
proponents and operators and the Tiwi Land Council
(including examination and reporting on ‘Commercial-in-Confidence’ documentation
and land valuations, lease arrangements and royalty payments);
d) an examination of the economic opportunity costs associated with
existing developments including forestry operations;
e) an examination of the prospects for alternative economic development
opportunities and impediments for the Tiwi Islands including sale and
promotion of cultural products, community development activities, land
and sea management, and opportunities for involvement in future carbon
trading and emissions offsets schemes; and
f) any related matters.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on  0418401 180

Norton, Tim (Sen Rachel Siewert)

Email: Tim.Norton@aph.gov.au


2 Responses to “Senate Inquiry into Tiwi Islands – Press Release 4 Dec 2008”

  1. tiwiccbb said

    On Behalf Of NTGNewsRoom DCM
    Sent: Tuesday, 9 December 2008 9:42 AM

    Subject: TRANS 09/12/08 Julia Christensen – Rachel Siewert re: Senate inquiry into forestry & mining on Tiwi Islands


    TIME: 8.30AM

    DATE: Tuesday 9th December 2008






    You may remember earlier in the year that Great Southern Plantations won a national award for their work on the Tiwi Islands only days after being fined for environmental breaches on the same project. Last week the Greens instigated a Senate inquiry into forestry & mining on the islands and Greens Senator Rachel Siewert explained to me earlier why they think a senate inquiry is needed.

    SIEWERT There’s been a number of concerns raised over both mining and forestry operations on the Tiwi Islands for some time, and we believe it’s appropriate that these issues be looked into, particularly with the mining being put into suspension for the time being.

    REPTR So what will you be looking into?

    SIEWERT So what the Senate referred to the Environment Communications and the Arts Committee last Thursday was an assessment of the environmental economic and community impacts of both the existing and proposed forestry and mining operations. So looking at what impact that’s had environmentally, for example what economic outcomes have there been for the islands, looking at the governance arrangements of both existing forest and mining operations, looking at whether, you know, what have been the contractual arrangements, whether they’ve actually delivered for the community, what outcomes there has been. Looking at has there been any economic opportunity costs associated with those and what could have been or what are maybe alternative economic development opportunity for the Tiwi Islands that don’t for example involve the destruction of the forests.

    REPTR Well we know there are environmental issues because they were fined by the federal government earlier this year, but in terms of the economic impact, what do you suspect may be going on there, I mean how much benefit do you think those Tiwi communities are getting economically from the forestry?

    SIEWERT Well that’s what we’re trying to find out because there’s been various inquires, sorry not inquiries, but there’s been various questions asked around this at in fact various committee inquiries and estimates inquiries, and it’s never been really clear what the economic benefits for the islands have been.

    REPTR You’ve talked to people over there?

    SIEWERT There’s been through the, there’s been a number of questions asked as I said around these issues, and there hasn’t been satisfactory answers and no-one’s done an economic analysis of what the benefits have been, costs or the benefits have been. And we believe it’s appropriate that if there are environmental impacts etcetera we need to look at whether there has in fact been any benefits as well, what benefits have flowed to the community and whether they meet, you know, whether they are at the, to the degree that’s appropriate for those for the area.

    REPTR So how will local people have their say in this inquiry?

    SIEWERT Well now this is, the Senate inquiry, I have no doubt the Senate inquiry it’s to report at the end of June next year or towards the end of June next year. We’re calling for written submissions which will be open, the date hasn’t been set, but will be open some time in I think March next year. But there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that the inquiry will actually come, will actually travel to the Tiwi Islands and so people will get an opportunity not only to make written submissions but also to give oral evidence and get support through the committee process to find out how to make a submission, there’s guidelines on how to make submission. Basically people can tell the inquiry whatever they like around their personal experiences, what they’ve seen, what they think is happening or whether, you know, if they think it’s been great for the island, they can submit basically as I said anything they want to the committee process.

    REPTR The Tiwi’s are in a pretty remote location and they struggle for economic viability. Wouldn’t inquiries such as this just sort of put off the prospect of future investments?

    SIEWERT No I don’t think so because that’s exactly what we’re trying, one of the issues that we’re trying to look at. What are the future or the alternative economic development opportunities and impediments for the islands. So no, that’s not what it’s intended to do. But of course just because they’re remote doesn’t mean that economic activity and this sort of development activity shouldn’t be carried out without most protections for the environment, but also so that it delivers the best economic outcomes for the community as well.

    REPTR Rachel how can people get involved, how can they make their submissions?

    SIEWERT What they could do is obviously I know that getting onto the internet can be difficult, but if they can it’s easy to access the committee website from the internet, you just go to the parliamentary website or they can ring Parliament House in Canberra to find out the details or they could also I suggest phone their local members or their local senators up there.

    REPTR Rachel thanks for your time.

    SIEWERT Thank you.


  2. tiwiccbb said


    check out the submissions and transcripts of hearings

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