Territory Stories

Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 17 February 2004



Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 17 February 2004

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Parliamentary Record 17


Question for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Questions for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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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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QUESTIONS - Tuesday 17 February 2004 Dr BURNS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I will come back to this article in the Alice Springs News. Dr Lim: I think the minister should read accurately. Madam SPEAKER: Minister, would you resume your seat? Member for Greatorex, I had not finished speaking when you made a back answer. Now, do not! My patience is becoming very thin. If I speak, I expect you to listen and at least show courtesy. Minister. Members inteijecting. Dr Lim inteijecting. Madam SPEAKER: It is not your turn to speak. Even you can understand that but, of course, people listening to this broadcast will have heard your bad manners. Dr BURNS: If I could return to this article in the Alice Springs News, 11 February. The headline says, Make Housing Blocks Without Native Title Consent: CLP Call. I was illustrating the quote attributed to the member for Macdonnell. It says: Now he says he is echoing the stance on the issue o f the CLP Parliamentary Wing, that the Government should without further delay, unilaterally determine what it considers fair compensation, and pay that amount into a trust account for later distribution to native title holders at their discretion. Then he goes on to say: The NT Lands Minister needs merely to sign a directive acquiring the title and the acquisition is a reality,' says Mr Elferink. I have had some advice about the processes involved in compulsory acquisition, and the member for Macdonnell is correct, that there is capacity within the Native Title Act for compulsory acquisition of lands within town boundaries, but there is a process that has to be followed. It is not the minister signing off on an order for compulsory acquisition and it happens tomorrow, and the bulldozers move in the next day. It just does not happen like that. I will go through the process for the edification of members opposite. This is a CLP position. It is not a well thought-out position, because, as I will illustrate here, this acquisition could take between 18 months and three years. Not only that, it would also cause so much bad blood and hostility that it would lock up the release of future lands around Alice Springs for a long time. Mr DUNHAM: A point of order, Madam Speaker. Now he is offering an opinion on CLP policy. This minister is definitely offering an opinion on things he knows nothing about. Madam SPEAKER: There is no point of order, however, you are taking a long time to answer this question. Dr BURNS: This is a very important issue for the citizens of Alice Springs. First, this is the process under the act: a notice of acquisition must be published, followed by an objection period of four months and ten days. Then, by law, the minister must consult with objectors for a period set at four months, and that is starting 14 days after the last day for lodgement of an objection. It is now about nine months from the original publication of the acquisition. If this does not have an agreed outcome - and I very much doubt it would, given the approach advocated by the CLP - the disagreement would then be heard by the Lands and Mining Tribunal, which hears the objection. There are no time limits under the act regulating the way the tribunal hears the objection. Another six to nine months is entirely likely. Of course, after that, there is a strong possibility of a challenge in the Supreme Court and the Full Court of the Supreme Court. If this happens it could add another 18 months at least. Mr Dunham: Wrong. Dr BURNS: Madam Speaker, some of the members opposite are saying, Wrong, wrong. This is legal advice that I have received. The bush lawyers on the other side say it could take 18 months to upwards of three years. The CLPs policy on land development in Alice Springs would effectively lock up land development in the town for an indefinite period. Madam Speaker, you made some comments in relation to this. You advocated that: The best solution would be for a resolution, an agreement between the two parties. I dont think we want to use a confrontational method at the moment. This development of Larapinta is very important. It has made substantial progress. It has not occurred as quickly as everyone would like, but I believe it sets the model for future development in Alice Springs, and I am wholeheartedly behind it and I support it. The opposition has just shown how they do not understand the legislation or the process. 897