Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999

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Parliamentary Record 14


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 - Wednesday 17 February 1999 recommendations of breaking up the larger land councils to put into place the Northern Territory Aboriginal Council, which will establish 18 regional land councils throughout the Northern Territory, and which will appoint these regional councillors to sit on these regional land councils? Not to have them elected like the ATSIC elections, like the community government council elections, like community organisation elections, like the elections that take place to put us into parliament. We have a situation where the recommendation is to appoint, and that in itself contradicts this government in the way it wants to do business. People will be appointed, and in many instances I would think the government would be in a position to appoint people who are yes people - people who will do what this government directs them to do, and yet be rewarded for that. Mr Baldwin interjecting. Mr AH KIT: What it will do, if that big master plan is - and you are the bloke who worked on it. You are the one who got out of the position of Aboriginal Development and Local Government and I dont think you have quite earned the elevation to the portfolios you hold now, but that is another argument. Mr Speaker, he dumped it onto the member for Braitling, he couldnt run with it, he found it too hot. He was out there developing a so-called rapport with Aboriginal people and at the first opportunity he flicked it to the member for Braitling and said: This is too hot for me, you take over now, you go and develop a rapport because I dont really care about it. Mr Baldwin interjecting. Mr SPEAKER: Order! Mr AH KIT: The big plan that they have, I think, and maybe I am wrong and I stand to be corrected, is that these appointed regional councillors who sit on ... Mr Baldwin: Or elected. Mr AH KIT: Or elected, is that what Reeves says? I read it as just appointed, but anyway, we have a situation where the big picture is that they are planning to have these regional councils where people will be appointed not elected, where they will control ATSIC roles and responsibilities along with the funding under this Northern Territory Aboriginal Council which will have their hands on the Aboriginal Benefits Reserve which was the Aboriginal Benefits Trust Account, which has something like $20m in it. They are planning to have community government councils amalgamated into a region where that same council will have responsibilities for community government issues in the region and to also have lands rights responsibilities. Well, you have it wrong, and if youre going down that track you really need to sit down and think seriously about it because no traditional owner of country in the Northern Territory will allow another Aboriginal person to make a decision about what should or should not happen on their country. That is the message I give you because it will breed bloodshed. M r SPEAKER: Order! The honourable members time has expired. Visitors M r SPEAKER: Perhaps before the minister responds I could draw the attention of honourable members to the presence in the gallery of Diploma of Business Community Management students from Bachelor College, accompanied by their lecturer Mr John Ingram. On behalf of all members I extend to them a warm welcome. Mrs BRAHAM (Local Government): Mr Speaker, I thank members for their contributions, particularly the positive ones from this side of the House, but I am not quite sure what statement the member for Arnhem was reading. Some of his allegations and innuendoes were simply not there. We were not specific in our statement, because it is a reform process that still has a long way to go. We are not saying that all councils must enter into this agreement and it is going to happen tomorrow. We are talking about a process that will be ongoing with lots of consultation and there is no time-line. It will be voluntary on the part of the councils and when they agree - might I add, member for Arnhem, that there are some communities that have already indicated interest in this. You said that you did not think the previous minister had consulted widely enough even though this has been a proposal since 1994. I am wondering if you are talking to the right people also. Do you talk to your own electorate? The Jawoyn people in particular have expressed strong interest in this sort of proposal, so obviously the minister has talked to them but you havent, so I suggest you go out and do it. You go back and talk to your own people and find out whats going on. The member for Arafura was most disappointing in his remarks. I am not sure where he got his information because he had a very good briefing from the department the other day and he knows exactly where we are going and the way we are going about it. Yet he comes in today and makes accusations and insinuations that are just not correct. And here is another one who has a group of people in his electorate who are interested, and that is the 2784