Territory Stories

Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 29 November 2000



Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 29 November 2000

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Parliamentary Record 26


Questions for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




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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QUESTIONS - Wednesday 29 November 2000 who want to keep this from the community. But this story is going to get out. Instead of seeking to maximise opportunities for Aboriginal people to benefit from mining, the land council is busy playing politics in conjunction with the Labor Party. The NLC has plenty of time to hold media conferences, to reel out complaints to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, and now waste valuable time and resources in the courts, but it claims not to have enough time to do its job of identifying native title claimants on pastoral land subject to mineral exploration license applications. The Wik decision of 1996 determined that native title would coexist with pastoral leases. Yet the NLC has apparently been unable - or more likely unwilling - since that time to identify native title holders on pastoral properties in the Northern Territory. Details of exploration applications on pastoral leases have been freely available to the NLC since that time. It has had plenty of time to act on behalf of Aboriginal communities with an interest in their applications. What have they done? They have actively lobbied the Labor Party to reject the Territory governments alternative procedures for dealing with native title. It is pretty easy to lobby this mob. They will probably in tum find out that they will lobby the NLC to get into it. They did that knowing that it would mean we would have to deal through the Commonwealth process. In other words the NLC and the Labor Party got what it wanted, but now the NLC is complaining that it does not have the time or the resources to do its job. The NLCs application to the Federal Court is all-embracing. It affects not only pastoral leases but all non-Aboriginal land and waters, and it will impact not only on onshore exploration and mining but also on offshore oil and gas exploration and development. Yet for all of this, the NLC claims to be concerned about the damage being caused to the mining industry by protracted delays in exploration licence applications. The NLC words are in stark contrast to its actions. They are not acting in the best interests of the mining industry or in the wider interest of the Northern Territory. Worst of all, the NLC is acting against the best interests of the Territory Aboriginal communities it is required to represent. This is the ultimate bad act of faith by the Northern Land Council. On behalf of all Territorians, the government will certainly be defending this outrageous NLC action in court, and we will also make sure those actions are looked at very closely by the Commonwealth, which administers the legislation that established the NLC in the first place. Purchase of Darwin to Katherine Transmission Line Mr STIRLING to TREASURER The Treasurers statement yesterday said that the Territory had an obligation to buy this transmission line prior to 1998. If there was an obligation to buy the line as you claim, why was this obligation to buy never reported in your Treasurers Annual Financial Statements? What confidence can Territorians have in continued CLP financial management when, for 10 years, you deliberately withheld information from taxpayers as to their financial exposure in this matter? ANSWER Mr Speaker, for the third time in two days I will table the paper that says it all. It is but one of many references since 1998 where the contingent liability was recorded. This is part 5, Contingent Liabilities at 30 June 1998, page 84: In support o f obligations o f the Power and Water Authority, the Territory has indemnified the financier o f this project against the failure o f the Power and Water Authority to meet its obligations. At 30 June 1998, 21 half-yearly payments, each of approximately $2.6m, equating to $35.7m in net present value terms [I explained NPV yesterday to them], remain to be paid. Under the current status o f the Power and Water Authority the prospect o f this undertaking being called upon is considered to be negligible. I table that again. I again refer honourable members to the statement I made yesterday. There was additional detail in relation to that particular matter that I provided to them. They chose to ignore it, of course, and that gets to the very reason why they did not want a briefing. They did not want a briefing on this matter because they knew that it they went and had a briefing they would have found out the facts. They would have found the truth and it would have eliminated their opportunity to muckrake. It would have eliminated their opportunity to scare Territorians. That is why they did not want a briefing, because when they go and have a look at what the actual facts are and go through them in absolute detail themselves, they will have to walk away and say this was a good deal for Territorians. They do not want a briefing for that very reason. 1253