Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995
Parliamentary Record 10
Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 future. The benefits must be balanced for the owner, the fisherman, the tourist etc, not only for today but for hundreds of years into the future. Whilst a single vested interest group may be able to maximise a short-term benefit or even an individual ongoing benefit, when we look at maximum outcomes from any area, we begin to see a depletion in other areas. If the benefits of all of the potential land use purposes are totalled together, a much greater total will be obtained through achieving the best compromise among all of the interests rather than attempting to maximise any single interest. If the only use of the land is for tourism, significant conservation value will be lost, as will significant pastoral value and significant fishing value. An attempt to maximise fishing will see a loss in the other areas. The goal is to find the balance that gives overall maximum benefit for all people, now and into the future. The Mary River is probably the most popular recreational fishing area in the Northern Territory. We have to ensure that we maintain that for current and future fishermen. The potential of the area for pastoral use is very great. Some pastoralists want it to be used to a far greater extent. However, we must weigh the individual benefit of maximising one area against the detriment to other areas. There are many controversial issues. We have asked for legal opinion on the boundaries of waterways. It is very easy to define with the usual river that has clear banks on either side. However, if what used to be a water channel of 20 m to 100 m in width is now 20 km wide, it may be difficult to know whether your boat is on the river or trespassing on a pastoral property. There are issues related to fences and liability etc. We do not have clear answers as yet. We must ensure that the rights of those people who want to fish are protected and that the property rights of the pastoral owners in the area are also protected. I commend the report to all members of the Assembly. I would like to thank all the individuals, organisations, groups and government departments that made submissions to the committee. When I first approached this issue, I had a number of ideas about what the problems might be and some of the solutions. In general, most of the submissions confirmed, reinforced and added to my knowledge and understanding of the area. Some people raised matters that I had not considered previously. We knew feral pigs were a problem, as they are in a number of areas in the Northern Territory. I was aware of conflict between policies to exterminate them to reduce the problem and providing for vested interests through maintaining them for hunting purposes and tourism safari-type activities. The committee received a very interesting submission from the Sporting Shooters Association which indicated that one of the problems with eradication is that it is normally undertaken when numbers are high. Although it appears that they have been eradicated, a large breeding population is left that maintains the numbers. The best way to eradicate feral animals is to act when the greatest pressure is on them. The submission said that, in the Flinders Rangers, sporting shooters organised with landholders and the government to eradicate feral goats. At no expense to the landholders or the government, the shooters offered to go in and eliminate the feral goats. I thought that was a good idea which I had not considered. It is a means of using the resources available in the community for the common good. The committee has recommended that such a resource could be used effectively. I commend the report to the Minister for Conservation in particular. As a person who suggested that the committee should be used much more, I thank him for his reference to it. I hope that, on reading the report, the minister will be pleased with the work that has been done 3289
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