Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 21 February 1996



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 21 February 1996

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Parliamentary Record 19


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 21 February 1996 These works are in breach of a number of Territory laws, including the Planning Act and the Fisheries Act. The other relevant acts include the Water Act, the Soil Conservation and Utilisation Act and the Public Health Act. The incident was first reported in October 1994, some 16 months ago. Two months after it was reported, an interdepartmental meeting was held at which many staff, who are responsible for monitoring and recommending the enforcement o f these laws for the protection of the environment, expressed their concern about the unauthorised work. I would like to quote from the meeting that was held on 8 December 1994, the minutes o f which have been tabled already. The Department o f Lands, Housing and Local Government said that it was aware o f the earthworks in early October 1994. The Fisheries Division stated: This incident should not go unchallenged. Any loss o f habitat is significant. It was concerned about dead fish floating in the creek. In a document that was tabled some 12 months ago, a fisheries officer described this as environmental idiocy. This idiocy is still there in all its glory. The consensus from that meeting in December 1994 was that, although several acts appeared to have been breached and prosecutions could have been followed, the major initiative rested with the Planning Branch and the Environment Protection Unit. In December 1994, departmental staff advised the Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries to write to the then Minister for Lands, Housing and Local Government, the member for Nightcliff, stating that he wanted a prosecution to be brought under the Planning Act rather than under the Fisheries Act and stating further that he was extremely concerned about the 2'/2-month delay. The minister must be beside himself now with this 16-month delay. Mr Palmer: Untrue. Ms MARTIN: It is documented. Mr Palmer: No, it is not. Ms MARTIN: I wonder how concerned the Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries is now that a further 14 months has gone by ... Mr Palmer: Check the signature. Ms MARTIN: ... and still no prosecution has been launched. Mr Ede: Was it forged. Mr Palmer: No. It was not forged. Ms MARTIN: It has your name on it. What has the environment minister been doing? Departmental officers brought this matter to the ministers attention in October 1994. The member for Wanguri raised the matter in the Assembly early last year and papers were tabled. In September, the member for Wanguri wrote to the minister asking him what action he would take. Oncc again, the minister was sitting on his hands. Four months later, in January this year, the minister wrote back to the member for Wanguri. The letter is one that deserves to be ... 6475