Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 11


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 - Tuesday 23 May 1995 and cigarettes, to pay a fire service levy and to meet increased household charges and other items. Families and workers have been asked to take the pain in this budget. The CLP has set out to cut the living standards of ordinary, hardworking Territorians - not a great achievement for any government. In relation to my portfolio responsibilities, almost every service in the Conservation Commission has been cut, especially Landcare. The national Landcare grant has been cut by $ 1.9m, but the total Conservation Commission budget for Landcare has been cut by $2.5m. There are significant cuts in wildlife management and wildlife research. Heritage programs are also cut, despite Cabinet having before it the Darwin Central Area Heritage Masterplan. The minister said this morning that Cabinet was about to consider this proposal, but the budget has cut the program overall. Are there any increased incentives for owners of heritage buildings to restore their properties? The announcement of the commencement of work on the upgrade of the Darwin Botanic Gardens is welcome. However, this work was promised before the last election. Spending on capital works in Territory parks is maintained at about the same level in real terms. These parks are a major facility for public recreation, as well as for the tourism industry and for their conservation value. I would like to see spending on park facilities increased beyond these levels instead of marking time. There is a small amount, about $70 000, for cane toad research. These pests are a major threat to our ecology and will be a real menace in our wetlands. When I was in Borroloola and at McArthur River Mine recently, the footprints of cane toads were unmistakable. They are certainly on the hop across the Territory, and on to the Kimberleys in Western Australia. I was interested to hear people in Borroloola say that, as a result of the presence of the cane toads, they find they are able to camp in the bush without worrying about snakes. That is because the cane toads are killing snakes as well as birds and other wildlife. We need to do much more to minimise their presence and hopefully to eradicate them, although it has been difficult for the Queenslanders to control them. When we look at some of the detail of the budget papers, there are questions to be asked. The situation does not look at all rosy. Perhaps the minister can answer these concerns. In conservation services, both personnel and operational costs have been cut despite an increase in the average staff number. What is the explanation for that? Grants and subsidies have been cut substantially. Have these cuts been directed to Landcare groups? If so, what effect will that have on these groups? What other groups will be affected? How much has been allocated to the development of a conservation plan for Darwin Harbour? Areas of the harbour foreshore are being zoned seemingly on an ad hoc basis. Where is the promised mangrove management plan? I would like to have seen a start made on a major conservation park in the Gulf region. Training was promised under the crocodile development program at Maningrida. At what stage is the government in terms of the implementation o f this program? I have received representations that some wildlife research programs may be under threat. I note from the budget papers that funds for research have been reduced. What programs are to be cut? 3566