Whyalla Steel Works (Environmental Authorisation) Amendment Bill

15 Oct 2015 newsspeechparliament

Adjourned debate on second reading

(Continued from 13 October 2015.)

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINKĀ  ( 15:38 :12 ): I will make a few brief remarks in relation to this bill which is an extension of the 10-year conditions which were granted in 2005 to provide the company operating the Whyalla steelworks with some regulatory certainty. Many comments have already been made, particularly in the House of Assembly by our lead speaker, the member for Stuart Mr Dan van Holst Pellekaan. I would like to endorse those remarks and the remarks of my Liberal colleagues here in the Legislative Council.

This is not dissimilar to the issue that we faced with BHP Billiton in that there are occasions when companies need to manage risk, and I do see that these conditions relate to risk minimisation which is very much a function of the commodity markets and investment circumstances of companies, rather than necessarily a reflection on environmental standards. My understanding of these operations is that they have been good corporate citizens and have implemented effective environmental programs.

The advice of our Liberal colleagues in the House of Assembly in relation to the select committee is that the Environment Protection Authority's preference is not to have an indenture, but it does not oppose the extension of the indenture; it considers Arrium/OneSteel to be environmentally responsible; it does not believe that the indenture compromises the EPA's ability; and that it may effectively adjust its licence conditions as necessary. I think that should give comfort to anybody who has particular concerns about environmental matters in relation to this indenture.

It might be just a philosophical point, but I think it is possibly not ideal that we do require these indentures, whether it is a reflection on the way the EPA operates or the way that capital markets and the flow of funds respond to those agencies that require separate conditions for certain circumstances, but I do not believe that that is a reflection on these operations. I endorse the bill to the council.