Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995

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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





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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 - Wednesday 17 May 1995 2 years. The committee is firmly convinced that, if nothing is done about saltwater intrusion along the lines recommended within the time frame suggested, no wetlands will be left to promote multiple use in the Mary River region. The implications for landholders, pastoral operations, tourism and recreational and professional fishing will be quite severe, with consequent economic effects impacting on the Territory economy. It is interesting to note that similar concerns and activities are occurring in northern Queensland. Modification of the Fitzroy barrage with adequate fishways was completed recently, taking in exacting tolerances to allow migration of native species of fish such as barramundi and mullet. The reconstruction was done as a cooperative project involving the Rockhampton City Council, the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and the national Landcare program. In closing, I wish to thank my colleagues on the committee - the member for Casuarina, the member for Wanguri, the member for Amhem and the member for Millner - for their efforts and commitment to this inquiry. I wish to add that the committee looks forward to further environmental references, where appropriate, from ministers. Even if I do say so myself, the quality of the report reflects the keen interest and eagerness of members of the committee to be involved on environmental issues. Mr BAILEY (Wanguri): Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to support the comments of the member for Greatorex in relation to the report by the Sessional Committee on the Environment into matters relating to the environmental protection and multiple use of wetlands associated with the Mary River system. As I have said on many occasions in this Chamber, I am a great supporter of the committee system in parliament. As I have said also, it is unfortunate that, in a unicameral parliament such as this, where committee procedures are probably some of the most important that can be used to carry out parliamentary work, maintain a check on what is happening and give advice to government, those procedures have been significantly neglected. The number of committees is greater and the type of work that they do is much broader in other parliaments than in our own. I hope that, with reports like the one that has now been completed by the committee, the government will review its attitude and its cynicism towards the role of committees of this parliament. For a number of years, I have raised the issue, both through formal motions and in comments in this Chamber, of the way that committees can be used, and that applies particularly to the Sessional Committee on the Environment. It was established quite a number of years ago with 2 terms of reference: to look at matters relating to uranium mining and its effects on the environment in the Alligator Rivers area; and to look at any matter relating to mining and/or the environment in the Northern Territory referred to it by either the parliament or the relevant minister. This is the first time that an issue other than the review of the Alligator Rivers region has come to the committee, although there have been attempts to raise other issues in the past. We talk about the divisions between the parties in the parliament, but I stress that this report is unanimous. There are no dissenting reports. There are no little bits in the back of this report where views are divided along party lines. If reasonable people are together on a committee, it is often the case that, when they are presented with the information they are required to consider, they think through it, and the report that emerges is one in which they all 3286