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 them have disposable incomes, leisure time, good health, and an appetite for new experiences. Those of us on the cusp of this era have a lot to contribute and should ensure, if we are articulate and energetic, that our priorities remain important to the decision makers. Once a political animal, I suppose, always a political animal. Like many before me, I am sure I will suffer relevance deprivation when I cease being the member for Barkly, but I look forward to new horizons with new fulfilment. My household goods will remain in the Northern Territory, and my heart will be here too. How could it be otherwise? I brought up my children here. I had a fantastic career here. And it was here that I was shown overwhelming kindness and support by strangers as well as friends at a time of great personal need. I will be a bit of a free-wheeling superannuant, moving between the Territory and other parts of Australia for a while. After a decade of representing a region larger than Victoria, you become a bit of a gypsy. But always I will be coming back to the Territory, and particularly to the Barkly. The added bonus, I am sure, will be that I will be returning to a Territory where the wonderful lifestyle enjoyed here will be enhanced by a caring, capable, and progressive Labor administration. In conclusion, I raise a couple of issues of concern to my electorate. My constituents in Tennant Creek often raise issues with me that I then raise with ministers of the Crown. Under normal circumstances, one gets a brief acknowledgement from a minister followed by some sort of an answer - normally, I have to say, within about a month. But one particular minister, in fact the Deputy Chief Minister, seems to have stopped corresponding with me and I would be interested to know why. I have a couple of issues that I have raised with the minister since January this year. One of them concerns my constituent, Mr Lawrie Davidson. His wifes car was vandalised in Tennant Creek on New Years Eve, allegedly by several young people. He has received corroboration from eyewitnesses who appear to know the identity of the offenders. Mr Davidson has passed on information to the pohce, but he is concerned from what he has been told by some police officers that the matter will not proceed to prosecution. The Davidsons are age pensioners and the cost of repairs to the car, over $1000, is beyond their means. They, understandably, want compensation from the offenders. The alleged offenders are juveniles but Mr Davidson is aware that there is a provision in the Juvenile Justice Act which empowers a court to make an order against parents of an offender. I asked the minister, having explained that situation, for his assurance, firstly, that the police were pursuing the matter with a view to prosecution, and, secondly, his view on whether reparation might be obtained from the parents of any successfully prosecuted juvenile under the Juvenile Justice Act. I wrote that letter on 9 January. I followed it up on 12 February with a reminder to the minister, having received not even an acknowledgement. I asked if he would provide a response because Mr Davidson was looking for answers. Silence - deathly silence - from the Deputy ChiefMinister. If this is the best that he and his department can do, I feel very sorry for the constituency of the Northern Territory. This is an important issue to my constituent and I ask the minister to have the courtesy, at least, to give me some sort of reply, even if he cant provide me with details. I also wrote to the Deputy Chief Minister on 9 February with regard to rescue operations at Benmara Station. This is to do with a pastoralist who is seeking some assistance, and I have aheady detailed the issue in this House. I hope the Deputy Chief Minister will have the courtesy to respond on those two issues. In conclusion, the Borroloola Community Government Council is concerned they are having to foot the bill for something that should be the responsibility of the Northern Territory government. This issue has been a vexed one for several years. Each year, and particularly during the last three years, this issue has disadvantaged the council financially. The town is cut in half by the McArthur River when flooding occurs - and it happens every Wet season over the Burketown crossing and a substantial number of people from Garawa I, Garawa II, and Wandanoola camps, about 150 people in total, are completely cut-off from all services. Last year the Wet started in late October and carried on until late April. Last Wet, their flood ferry service expenditure was $9650, and in the current year to 23 February it is aheady $9054. The main problem is the total inadequacy of the crossing. A high tide goes across it. The council has asked repeatedly for the government to improve this crossing, but nothing ever gets done. That means we are a pubhc transport organisation for five months of the year, says the council, because people need to access essential services on the west bank of the river. Government departments totally disregard the problem. The council asked Pohce, Fire and Emergency Services if they could use the flood boat but they said that this wasnt an emergency situation. I have to say that I do concur with the Police 7552

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