Territory Stories

Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001



Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001

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Parliamentary Record 27


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 28 February 2001 examiners directly supervised under the Surveyor- General. Since 1991, almost all surveys are now undertaken by licensed surveyors employed in the private sector. The current act implies that the Surveyor-General takes full responsibility for the integrity of approved survey plans, which no longer reflects the contemporary roles of the Surveyor- General and the private sector in the process. This bill clarifies these responsibilities such that the Surveyor-General retains the authority to approve survey plans under the act, but the onus for the correctness of survey plan content rests with the licensed surveyor who certifies the plan. The current act is unclear with regard to the licensing of surveying companies and the professional responsibilities of employees of companies not owned by licensed surveyors. There has never been a body corporate licensed under the act, and in recent consultation with the industry no interest was expressed for retention of this provision. The bill therefore resolves this issue by repealing this section of the act. This means that only an individual person can be a licensed surveyor and that person is fully responsible for his or her actions under the act. Further to this, the bill also clarifies how corporations and bodies corporate may operate within the scope of a Licensed Surveyors Act. The bill makes amendments to ensure that current business practices are not disadvantaged by the repeal of the section dealing with the licensing of bodies corporate. The cost of introducing and maintaining modem technology to enable greater efficiencies and savings in processing of survey plan data have largely been bome by the government. Though the private sector is a primary beneficiary of these changes, the Northern Territory is the only jurisdiction that does not impose fees on the lodgement of survey plans for statutory approval. This bill allows the minister to set fees to offset or recover the costs of administering the survey system that exists to support the land titles system. This is consistent with practice in other jurisdictions and the current Attomey-Generals Department practice of imposing lodgement fees for unit plans under the Unit Titles Act. The present survey system has, in essence, remained unchanged since the Northern Territory was colonised in 1869. The boundaries of land on survey plans and land titles are shown as metes and bounds dimensions in the form of bearings, or directions, and lengths with respect to existing abutting boundaries. In recent years significant changes in surveying and spatial data management technologies have occurred, such that the historic method of boundary definition has become a barrier to the optimum and economic use of this new technology. Technology such as electronic measuring instruments, satellite global positioning systems, and electronic field data recorders are now offering considerable savings in time, effort, and cost in field survey. Plans are prepared by computer-based drafting systems and land boundary data is managed in land information systems. Contemporary surveying, drafting and land information systems record and manage data in the form of digital spatial coordinates that are stored electronically. These spatial coordinates are referred to as geodetic coordinates, or more commonly known as latitude and longitude. The bill will allow for the introduction of a survey and title system in which the boundaries of land can be defined as geodetic coordinates. The current survey system will be able to be fully integrated with the lands titles register within the Northern Territory land information system, as was the original intention of the 1987 electronic titles feasibility study. This change to a coordinate-based system, known as a coordinated cadastre, will place the Northern Territory at the forefront of cadastral reform and land information systems in Australia, and deliver significant benefits to all users of spatial data, particularly the land development industry. The opportunity has also been taken to review the act for gender bias and the appropriateness of penalty clauses. The bill makes amendments to ensure that gender neutral language is consistently used throughout the act. The bill also revises the formerly inadequate dollar-specific penalty regime with the penalty unit regime in line with those imposed by current legislation for offences of a similar kind. Debate adjourned. MOTION Ratification of Treaties by the Commonwealth Parliament and Related Matters Continued from 28 November 2000. Mr STIRLING (Nhulunbuy): Mr Deputy Speaker, we need to go back to the terms of this motion, given that it was moved some time ago, on 28 November last year. We welcome the reforms introduced by the Howard government on the way treaties are dealt with by both the federal government and federal parliament: (1) that all treaties should have the approval of the federal parliament before they can have any effect on Australians; (2) the view and attitude of all states and territories should be formally put to the federal parliament; and (3) that 7543

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