Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 22 April 1999



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 22 April 1999

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Parliamentary Record 15


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 22 April 1999 disclosure statement that is given to all titleholders in the subdivision or the development so that they know what future things can happen within their area. You cant change the plan once you already have it up and running. Its interesting that they even put this in writing. Its frightening what they think they can get away with in the Northern Territory. A disclosure statement was prepared setting out the manner in which the development would be carried out. Now heres the killer. Im sure the Chief Minister will see the humour in this. At the time, City Developments had no more than a vague idea on how it intended to develop the western shore, but was assured by the Land Titles Office that once its final development plans were approved by the Planning Authority it would be a simple matter to vary that disclosure statement to reflect any changes in the final plans. All of those people had bought initially on what they thought was the final plan, but the developer could just write in and change it if he wanted to. It is worrying that this sort of development can go ahead with illegal activities being carried out within a department granting changes to title, and that changes to the legislation can be attempted without the prime reason for this legislation being disclosed. I challenge the Chief Minister to give me any significant examples other than Lake Bennett. I think, reading between the lines, he may have hinted at it referring to the Milatos Lake Bennett development when he said: In one particular case, for example, the interest held was an access and water easement. Now, I suspect it may have been an access to water easement, not an access and water easement. It makes a big difference in the way you read it. But, quite clearly, this legislation is going through for the prime purpose of helping a known, long-time CLP supporter in a significant development which is against the best interests of many Territorians who bought land in that area in the first instance, in the belief that there would be a wilderness development. That included those properties that surrounded Lake Bennett, the large ones on the hill space, who when they bought them, their title included an easement that said: You will have unrestricted access to the lake. They were the first ones who were done over by this government, not by the original person who sold them that land, but when Milatos came along and wanted to start doing his subdivision developments, he was allowed to do it without any reference to the correct legal process of going to those property holders. When we then move to the next stage, people actually bought in to that development, people who werent probably aware of that first round of issues, who bought in with the original disclosure statement as to what was going to happen about their wilderness development around the lake. I am sure they werent aware of the literally hundreds of condominium-type units that were going to be placed around Lake Bennett. What I call the planning by stealth that weve seen occur around Darwin and the Northern Territory for some time is epitomised in microcosm out there at Lake Bennett. And we are changing legislation to benefit the developer. Were taking out of the loop what was a protection. I do have some sympathy, and Id have to say if it wasnt specifically seeming to be done behind closed doors - I raised the Milatos, Lake Bennett development and was told, no it had no effect on that, asked which ones it actually - even if that question wasnt quite right, when I said, What does this effect, give me an example, no mention was at all given of the proposal. I really do think that by its actual leaving out and the way comments were made, that youd have to say, they knew dam well. And as I made clear here, its because of Lake Bennett that this legislation is before us today. Its not ancillary to it. This is when it was pointed out. It was the involvement of the Ombudsman that appears to have been, unless the minister can give me any other answer, the trigger to realise that the legislation was actually not being properly implemented and there were legal implications. Mr Burke: Yes. Mr BAILEY: Quite clear? Yes, it was. Why didnt the Chief Minister, in his second reading speech, more clearly state that? Why wasnt I briefed on that on Monday? Why when I raised the issue of Lake Bennett wasnt I more clearly informed that in fact, yes, there is a problem out there, and we have gone through the difficulties. The sorts of issues... A member inteijecting. Mr BAILEY: What? Mr Burke: They were advised by the Ombudsman and others that the procedures that they were following needed amendment in order to reflect the law at the time. M r BAILEY: As weve said, it was the issues raised at Lake Bennett by the Ombudsman that triggered this legislation. Why didnt the Chief Minister, why didnt the departmental officer say: Yes, there is a problem out there. He didnt. He sort of said: Look, theres been ones that weve done in the past, and technically the ones in the past 3205

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