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 Certainly, the area is at our backdoor and in our backyard, so to speak, and the Northern Territory government does not in any way veer away from its commitment and its responsibilities in this area. However, it is a large problem. It is a environmental problem that affects virtually all Australians and, while there are lessons to be learnt for this wetlands system, those same lessons can be applied to other wetlands in the Northern Territory, throughout Australia and, for that matter, the world. There are other places in the world that are facing, if not similar problems, then problems that are at least as serious in their own way as those that we are facing. There is no doubt that there are lessons to be learnt here, just as we have studied what has been done overseas. I am sure that not only the eyes of the people in the Mary River wetlands are on this report, but also those of interested parties around the world who will be following progress not only on this part of the process but in the weeks, months and years ahead, because this is of worldwide significance. I would like to touch very briefly on the matter of public input. I place on record my appreciation of the contributions from members of the public and also officers of government departments who gave so much of their time, effort and resources to making submissions to this inquiry. Indeed, the member for Wanguri mentioned the submission by the Sporting Shooters Association, and I would like particularly to congratulate that organisation on the professionalism of its submission. If any members of the public are looking in the future at how to make a submission to a parliamentary committee of inquiry, they could do much worse than look at the way in which the Sporting Shooters Association went about stating its case. It not only stated its case, but suggested some solutions and methods with which to overcome the problem. Certainly, that was from its own perspective and involved using some of its members to eradicate, in this case, feral animals such as pigs and the like. However, the manner and professionalism of its representatives in stating the case were an excellent example for any members of the public who may wish to appear before a parliamentary committee in the future. What they had to say was of great interest. We received other submissions which varied in terms of theatrical performance. As occurs in this Chamber at times, often the more theatrical the presentation, the less productive the outcome. Regardless of that, and regardless of whether we received a history lesson from some, everyone was sincere in their input to the committee and I compliment and express my thanks to the members of the public who stated their case to the committee. This is certainly a case where I would like to think we received value for money from the committee. I am informed by the chairman that the cost involved was $10 000. I notice the Chief Minister pricking up his ears over there. I might have to sign off on that one. However, $10 000 for a report of such magnitude and significance is remarkably good value considering the huge area that we are talking about, and the great volume of words that were uttered and printed. At $10 000,1 believe it is a bargain in anyones language. I believe that the task force is very important. It was not a case of the committee saying that it would leave all the decisions to it anyway, but what we will need in the future is cooperation from all interested parties, and I believe a task force not only provides a forum for those people to express their opinions but also gives a legitimacy to and a springboard for further work to be done. When the task force speaks, it will do so with authority and, for that reason, the task force is most important to the future of solving this problem. 3293
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