Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 20 March 2018



Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 20 March 2018

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Tuesday 20 March 2018 3426 The minister has logically brought further legislation to the House to make sure we are ahead of the game and aligned with the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions to make sure we are not only protective and vigilant of our natural ecology, but that we are front and centre with protecting, preserving and developing our agricultural, horticultural and pastoral sectors. I enjoyed the story from the Member for Brennan about his formative years and experiences with the European carp. I grew up on the east coast, so I knew nothing of carp. I knew carp as goldfish that were kept in wealthy old ladies ponds at houses in Coogee and so forth. I did not understand what happened with the feral species and the impact it had on our native wildlife and ecology until I graduated from teachers college and did my country service on the western plains of New South Wales. I did two years out there and had a lot of experience learning about the Barwon and Namoi Rivers. The Barwon River travels into the Darling River, and the Darling filters through that important agriculture land in southern Australia. With the locals exploring this whole new landscape and ecology that was quite unique to me, as I had never been out into those Western Plains, I started to come into contact with the carp. The carp was one thing. I remember I was always shocked about the size and ferocity of that species. We were fishing with 100 pound breaking strain lines on hand reelsI do not know if you call that fishing, but we do. That is how we grew up in the deep blue water of the south coast of New South Wales. It was to feed a family, not this sport fishing with a $600 rod. Anyway, leaving that debate aside, we were dragging these monstrous fish onto the banks. Then it was explained to me that we were to take them up and leave them in the sun and let them perish quietly because they were such an invasive and dangerous species to our native species. When a Murray cod or yellow belly was caught, I can remember the great jubilation and the cook-ups on those river banks with the locals. It was celebrated that those species were still there. It was great times and great memories. Coming from the east coast and understanding the nature of feral species and things like the sparrow, pigeon, wild pig, lantana that had invaded coastal environs up and down the east coast out of the leafy pot plants of the original colonialsit was in my psyche, but I had never experienced anything like that European carp and its invasion of our fresh water estuaries and ecosystems. I am very pleased that in the ministers second reading speech he continued my education. Through his department, I am now aware that our scientists are working on the carp herpes virus. Let us hope that starts to impact on this feral species. It is good to hear that across jurisdictions, the scientists of our countrythe leaders and experts in this fieldare continuing to research and design these elements of biological control that will be able to address the mistakes of the past. Well done, minister, and thank you for making me aware of that. I look forward to any other statements you bring to this House to learn about what we are doing in the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory has a crew of experts and scientists who work in the Department of Primary Industry and Resources. They are constantly searching for better ways to manage and support our environment and that very critical link to developing our agricultural, horticultural and pastoral industries that represent not only the signature policies of this Northern Territory Labor government, but provide important jobs and opportunities for our kids and grandkids across the Northern Territory. This is not a story about the big end of town; this is a story about developing the Northern Territory in conjunction with sustainably. I will also make a comment about the cane toad, as it has been raised in this debate. There is some research and exploration occurring for a biological control for the cane toad. Let us wish those scientists the best. Let us see government put resources into this. Once again, coming from the east coast, my first contact with the cane toad was in north Queensland when I was travelling. I was devastated to meet that species again at Wollogorang Station on the border of the Northern Territory in about 1983. That species created a lot of havoc when it moved west from Cairns and the north Queensland east coast. I was a teacher at Robinson River and I remember, in 1986, sending a radio telegram message across the Royal Flying Doctor Service to the then department of conservation and resources. The children brought a number of cane toads to school that morning. It was after the Wet Season. I alerted the government to the fact that the cane toad had marched further west and was now confirmed as sighted on Robinson River Station. The response that came back was, You had better get used to living with them. If we had taken it more seriously then we may have had an opportunity to deal with the cane toad. However, that was a long time

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