CHAIRMAN: Welcome. In what capacity are you appearing before the committee?
Mr Sjolander: I am a Swedish citizen, but I have been a resident of Australia for a decade. I came over here in December 1986. In January I was invited to the final negotiation in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, on a Swedish warship. It was a competition between Siemens Germany and Sweden's Kockums to build submarines. Some of them are built now. I suggested at that time, because it was a hard competition, one should make it a joint operation, a joint venture. That is what happened and they were built in Adelaide, not at Kockums, because there were a lot of incidents during that time on the coastline in Sweden with the Soviet Union, or whatever it was.
After 14 days I am in a new residence on the island. I have seen what you have seen: you are accommodated in the laundry on the other side of the island, and now you have seen this `dust machine' on this side of the island and all the asbestos and the species called human beings--they are as threatened as birds, or whatever, as far as I can see. This is the most neglected Australian super potential I have seen during my 10 years in this country: on my flight in, I saw a pearl in the ocean.
Yesterday I wrote something for myself after 14 days observation--day and night, I would say--and my conclusion yesterday was to make some kinds of proposals to you. You are all members of the parliament and, firstly, to make it short, we could build a submarine underground harbour here. I do not think that I have to promote that more because you have already emphasised the strategic importance of this island.
Secondly, we could investigate the feasibility of inviting James Cook University, which is very good in marine science, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Cleveland Bay to come over here for a symposium and we could make that a first research station for scientists in residence here. That could be a very good combination of investigating the water around here and--if I go back to point 1 again--even if a submarine underground harbour is not built here, it could be a very good argument or motivation to publish it with regard to this treaty with Indonesia.
Thirdly, I think that this is a very good place to link the international program of space with an observatory. All three of these three activities are very clean and none of them seem to be environmentally problematic at all, and they could create a hell of a lot of good jobs here on the island. It would not just be this dust producing hellhole and a money laundering machine, as I can see it.
What I say could also give a better future for tourism, and living standards; and, probably, the environment on this island should be much better, too. Fourthly, why not open up with a symposium on this island and invite all these people? Maybe the host could be a national park. That is all I want to say.
CHAIRMAN :Thank you!
[5.08 p.m.]Chrismas Island 1997