Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 25 February 1992



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 25 February 1992

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Parliamentary Record 8


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




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 25 February 1992 for good reason. Ministers are elected representatives of the community and, as such, they reflect community views. Certainly, they consider community issues when discretionary matters are referred to them. It is entirely appropriate for ministerial discretion to be provided in the legislation. The member for Victoria River is concerned that the bill does not specify the plants that will be protected. That matter was raised also by the member for Nelson. Indeed, the member for Victoria River asked how members could debate the bill without having access to a list of protected plants. Perhaps that is an excuse for him spending only 6 or 7 minutes debating the bill. We are talking about a policy and legislation whereby plants can be protected. The suggestion that a list should be presented with this bill assumes that we know all of the endangered plants in the Northern Territory that require protection. That is simply not the case. From time to time, new plants will be discovered and they will be added to the list when it is prepared. Plants which are currently not protected might require protection in the future for one reason or another. Flexibility is the mechanism by which the legislation will work. Just as there is a list related to protected animals and unprotected animals under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Act, so a list will be prepared for plants. The honourable member seems to feel that such a list should not be prepared by those nasty officers in the Conservation Commission whom he cannot trust. He asked whether we are to believe them. Of course we are to believe them. We pay their salaries and, therefore, I believe that we should have confidence in them. They are recognised throughout the country for the work that they do. Indeed, their fine work in relation to crocodiles is recognised internationally. I have no concerns about the work that conservation officers do. I ask the member for Victoria River to consider their fine work and appreciate that they have the ability to prepare such a list. They will not prepare the list in isolation. There is a national list of animals that should be protected. Some of the animals that we have protected in the Northern Territory are on that list. The officers of the Conservation Commission have determined also that some animals which are not on the national list should be protected in the Northern Territory. This is a quite legitimate process for them to undertake because they are the scientists. They are the people in the field who are familiar with the abundance of a particular species and the level of protection that is needed for it. The same will apply in relation to plants. On the basis of national and local information and scientific research, a list will be prepared of plants that need to be protected. As I hope that the opposition spokesman has, I have complete faith in the ability of the officers of the Conservation Commission to do that. The member for Victoria River gave no example of an instance where a person might need to appeal. As I said earlier, he might have given us a more detailed explanation of his proposed amendments. Without a precise indication of what his proposal for an appeal process might achieve, I will not investigate it. If he himself cannot sell it, I do not intend to attempt to do that for him. In relation to some of the matters that are referred to in the schedule that has been distributed by the opposition, I say simply that it seems to be an attempt to introduce some form of endangered species legislation into the Northern Territory. Currently, such legislation is being considered nationally by the federal government and that will be a matter for discussion over the next few months. 3648

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