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Greens start Senate Inquiry into Tiwi Islands

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 hectares."

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:

  1. 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 conditions;
  2. 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;
  3. 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);
  4. an examination of the economic opportunity costs associated with existing developments including forestry operations;
  5. 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
  6. any related matters.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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