Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995
Parliamentary Record 10
Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 board expects to complete the establishment of monitoring sites, under tier 1 of its monitoring system, on all operating pastoral leases in the Territory. To June 1994, the board had established 517 in the Katherine pastoral district, which incorporates VRD and the Gulf, 246 in the Alice Springs district, and 71 in the Barkly - a total of 834 sites over 86 properties with an average of around 10 sites per property. The second tier of the program aims to provide objective and scientific information on the condition of pastoral land, including the ability to distinguish between grazing and seasonal effects, and to allow accommodation for rainfall variability across the Northern Territory and different pasture types across different regions. Mention is made of modem technology that can be utilised to enhance monitoring techniques, including remote sensing techniques such as satellite imaging which we all know can be very useful compared over time. The report also lists a number of new initiatives and policy issues that it has been working on and developing in the past year as well as listing applications to clear pastoral lands and their determination throughout 1992-93 to 1993-94, and applications for non-use of pastoral land. Finally, the report provides an overview of the general condition of pastoral land in the Katherine, Barkly and Alice Springs pastoral districts. I thank the minister for tabling this report of what appears to be a very active board. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH (Nelson): Mr Deputy Speaker, in rising to support the ministers presentation of the Pastoral Land Boards annual report, I can only say that the activities of the board and its advisers have been exemplary. The only matter that I wish to draw to the attention of the minister is that this is now May 1995, and this is an annual report for 1993-94. I hope that, in future, the reports will be more up to date. I understand that the Pastoral Land Board is in its infancy. Looking at the membership of the board and, although not knowing them personally but knowing of their activities, I feel certain that things will come up to scratch in the future. The governments concept of pastoral land management these days differs from what it was some years ago. Previously, it was regulatory and, in many cases, that was to the detriment of good land management. It has now gone more to the monitoring position. Formerly, the government regarded pastoral land as something on which things had to be counted. You had so many acres of pastoral land - 1 am talking about the days before hectares - and on those acres, you had to have so many head of cattle. You had to have so many breeders, so many animals that would be turned off, so many bores, so much land fenced and so much land cleared. On some stations, these requirements would have been easy to meet and would have left the land in good condition. However, in many cases, little regard was paid to the actual carrying capacity of the land. The law said that, because the property comprised so many acres, it had to carry so many head of cattle, and be blowed to the state of the land after the cattle had been turned off. The situation that the government has adopted now is more in keeping with sensible land care. It has no real connection with the greenies in the community; it is simply sensible land care which any farmer or pastoralist would have been practising if they had been permitted to under the regulations prevailing in previous years. I have a question to ask the minister. The report refers to all of the functions of the Pastoral Land Board. One function is to establish, operate and maintain systems for monitoring the condition and use of pastoral land on a district or other basis. That is easy to understand. However, who chooses the monitoring sites? Are 3280
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