Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 24 February 2000



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 24 February 2000

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Parliamentary Record 21


Debates 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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DEBATES - Thursday 24 February 2000 to be traced. Its rituals and traditions start with the anticipation that peaks on New Years Eve and culminates in the Festival of Lanterns. Chinese New Year is an opportunity, like the Western New Year, to cast aside grudges. Although celebrations of Chinese New Year may vary, the underlying message is one of peace and happiness for family and friends. In the spirit of the season, I wish all my constituents who celebrate Chinese New Year - especially those who actively participate - health, wealth and happiness in this Year of the Golden Dragon. Mr LUGG (Nelson): Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise tonight to pay tribute to a well-known sportsman about town who was very tragically killed in a roadside accident the other night, one Chico Modop. Chico came to Darwin from Queensland as a pearl diver in the early 1950s, intending to only stay for a short while. But like a lot of us, he became part of the scene. He initially played rugby for the Workers Club team, the Hornets. He was heavily involved in rugby league, playing for the Wallabies and winning best and fairest player in 1956. He played against the touring French rugby team in 1964 and was awarded a life membership of the Darwin Rugby League in the early 1990s. He completed over 40 years of continuous service to rugby league in the Northern Territory. He also played for the Darwin Football Club, the Buffaloes, in the early days, the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was a member of the Darwin Buffaloes premiership team in 1954 and 1955 and at that time also coached Nightcliff to a grand final. After retiring from A grade sports in the 1960s, Chico coached junior rugby league teams for many years before moving on to coach senior teams. He worked at Transport and Works for approximately 30 years and was also a driver with the Darwin Bus Service before he retired. He was well respected and liked around town and was one of those people who really did earn the respect shown to him. His primary involvement in football is now through his surviving sons and grandsons in Darwin and interstate. In fact, one of his sons, Mark, is well known to me. He has been known to my family for a number of years, my dad having taught him at primary school. Mark is now a level 3 coach in Australian Rules and currently coaches the side of which I am a patron, Southern Districts or the mighty Crocs. I was particularly impressed with the courage Mark showed when he knew his father had died the night before but was still able to be there for his team on the Saturday to put his all in, as he does, and do the best the next day. Knowing that he was under a pretty fair amount of personal pain, I really felt for him, because approximately a year ago I was in that position myself. One of Chicos grandsons, Shannon, plays for the Kangaroos in Melbourne in AFL, the top-level side. Chico also played Super Rules in the early 1960s. I didnt know Chico all that well, but Ive known the Modop family for a long time and I know they have contributed significantly to the sporting and cultural links around the city. He will be sadly missed, and I will be at his funeral tomorrow morning. I pay tribute to this remarkable man and the dynasty that he has founded. Mr TOYNE (Stuart): Mr Deputy Speaker, sometimes you can enjoy adjournment topics, but today I want to talk about one of the more unseemly things that goes on in my electorate. I want to talk about what happens when a thoroughly unscrupulous and predatory person gets into a remote community council and what they can do in terms of disrupting and destroying a community program. Mike Burrows was given a job at the Willowra Community Council and took up his job there. He attracted attention fairly soon after that when he took money from the council, sourced mainly from Office of Local Government grants, but also potentially, we believe, from the ATSIC CDEP money, and bought a restaurant in Alice Springs called Dingos Restaurant - supposedly on behalf of the community, but initially he was listed as one of the owners of it. That restaurant was subsequently sold off for about half the price that was paid for it. I believe the price was $180 000. He resold it to an acquaintance, we believe, for something around half that, $75 000. And we are still at this stage trying to work out where all that money has gone. The activities had an immediate impact on the program running at Willowra, quite obviously. The cash flow that should have been there to sustain community jobs in the council, to sustain the programs that the council was providing such as garbage collection and repair of facilities, essential services, power and water, was simply dissipated, as was the money in the CDEP programs. A community trust fund was set up which took a proportion of CDEP wages out of the workers pockets and transferred them into a fund that could be very loosely used, to say the very least. This situation went on for a long time with the knowledge of the Office of Local Government and with the knowledge of ATSIC. Now, this is not a bagging expedition on either of those departments 5185