Dissenting report by Coalition Senators
As the majority report indicates, Senate committees are able to continue
their inquiry activities and complete reports after the prorogation of the
Parliament. In this case the committee has cancelled a scheduled hearing in
Adelaide and has decided to report without making findings in relation to the
bill. This has meant that witnesses interested in the bill, including several
existing users of the Woomera Prohibited Area, have not been able to provide
evidence to the committee. Further, the conclusion of the inquiry, and the re-referral
of the bill in the next Parliament, will likely result in a delay in the
passage of this proposed legislation.
As the submissions from the Department of Defence, the Department of
Resources, Energy and Tourism and the South Australian government have
indicated, the bill will make important changes to the access arrangements to
the Woomera Prohibited Area. Potentially, these reforms will have significant
benefits for Australia's defence interests and the economy of South Australia.
Coalition Senators on the committee disagreed with the decision to
cancel the hearing and to report without making findings in relation to the
bill. Given the importance of a timely outcome to both national security and
the South Australian economy, they wished to proceed with the inquiry and to
report their findings.
Senator Alan Eggleston Senator
Senator the Hon David Johnston
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