The Hon. RICHARD JONES: My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment. Is it the fact that the Minister for the Environment signed a document for the transfer of the land on portion 68 on Lord Howe Island, where irreplaceable rainforests were recently destroyed on 5 March 2002, thus creating a new perpetual lease? Did the transfer indicate that the land was a gift from Stuart King to Neville Prout, when in fact Neville Prout bought the land? Did the transfer state that Neville Prout is an Islander, when in fact he is a New Zealander? Why did the Minister sign the transfer, which allowed the destruction of world heritage rainforests, under false pretences?
The Hon. CARMEL TEBBUTT: The question by the honourable member follows up on issues he asked about two days ago. I believe it is the case that the Minister for the Environment did sign the transfer of a part-perpetual lease, as he is required to do under the Lord Howe Island Act. However, as I indicated to the House two days ago, the consent authority for the subdivision and development application for a residence is the Lord Howe Island Board. I gave a detailed response to the honourable member the other day. The board does not consider that the signing of the transfer had an adverse impact on World Heritage-listed vegetation, as the honourable member has suggested.
I reiterate that this application and subdivision occurred within the settlement area on Lord Howe Island. Lord Howe Island is in a unique situation. It is a World Heritage-listed site, but it is also home to some 300 residents. That poses some very real challenges for the Lord Howe Island Board. Some areas of the island have been established as settlement zones. Portion 87, which the honourable member has referred to, is in the settlement zone. Nonetheless, as I said the other day, the board believes that it has acted fairly and in accordance with relevant planning and development control legislation and due process, and with due consideration of all of the appropriate factors, in line with its responsibility as consent authority.
The Hon. RICHARD JONES: I ask a supplementary question. Why has the Minister not answered my questions that the land was not gifted and was not allowed to be sold, yet it was sold, and that Neville David Keith Prout is a New Zealander and not an islander? The Minister has not answered those questions.
The Hon. CARMEL TEBBUTT: I do not have anything further to add to my previous detailed response. If the honourable member wishes to pursue such specific issues, he should place his questions on notice.