Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003
Parliamentary Record 13
Debates 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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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 19 June 2003 Chamber, both sides of the House supported the East Timorese refugees. It is good that at long last, people from East Timor have some security and surety that their applications will be successful. We look forward to their continuing contribution to the wellbeing and economy of the Territory. Mr VATSKALIS (Ethnic Affairs): Madam Speaker, many names have of people who helped the East Timorese have been mentioned and, certainly, the names Tollner and Scullion have been absent. When I spoke to Minister Ruddock and thanked him, he advised me that he looked positively at the outcome for the East Timorese because he recognised the contribution they made to Australia and the difficulties of going back to East Timor. Not once did he mention Tollner or Scullion. On the other hand, I would like to thank the federal Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Gary Hardgrave, who made representations seeking a positive outcome to Philip Ruddock on my behalf. As for Mr Tollner, he did not attend the East Timorese rally, but he rang and left a message on my mobile phone asking me to pass his apologies. He did not even bother to attend the rally. If he did something about the East Timorese, why didnt he let us know? They are usually very vocal when they do something, and tell us what they are doing. I am afraid Tollners and Scullions names are absent, but Warren Snowdon was there prominendy and I thank him for his contribution. Site Contamination Legislation Dr BURNS (Environment and Heritage): Madam Speaker, I inform the House of progress in developing important new legislation to protect the environment and health of Territorians. I have recently released a discussion paper proposing the development of an environment protection objective for the management of contaminated land to be made pursuant to the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act. Industrial land can be contaminated with pollutants through poor environmental practices, spills and accidents. In many cases, that pollution is not visible and there is no odour. With increasing urban consolidation, industrial land is subject to greater pressure for redevelopment for residential purposes and, where this industrial land has been contaminated by past activities, its redevelopment without proper clean-up can pose significant health risk for residents. One only has to look interstate to see the consequences of failing to properly address contaminated land issues. There have been residences in South Australia on a former gasworks site in Port Adelaide where, as a result, the houses had to be bulldozed. In the ACT, some houses were built on former sheep dip sites with arsenic, phenolic and organo-chlorine compounds. I know from my own experience when I lived in Armidale in New South Wales for a while, a whole subdivision had to be deserted because it was built on an old copper naphthenate log processing plant. There was a significant expense, not to mention the dangers to residents, particularly children. While the pressure in redeveloping land in the Territory is not as great as it is down south, we are now seeing such areas as tank farms in the city being redeveloped for residential purposes. I want to ensure that we have appropriate processes and procedures in place to ensure that the health of Territorians is not put at risk. This proposed environment protection objective for site contamination will set rules for preventing, identifying, assessing and managing site contamination. The proposed legislation will provide clarity and certainty of the process to industry, landowners, developers and will improve confidence among the general community. When this government came to office, it was clear that legislative and operational regimes to properly protect the Territory environment had been neglected by the CLP in some areas. Since coming to government, we have made significant inroads in trying to rectify this situation. We have set up an independent Office of the Environment and Heritage; introduced a review of the Heritage Conservation Act; have a greenhouse strategy; and we are looking, through a parliamentary committee, at the establishment of an environment protection authority. Mr Dunham: We have done a lot of work on that. Dr BURNS: Well, I thought you were on that committee. Mr Dunham: Yes, we have done a lot of work on that. Dr BURNS: Good! Much work remains, but the Territory community can be assured that this government is committed to modern environmental laws targeted at the problems at hand, with adequate resources to back them up. I believe, absolutely, that good environmental laws are pivotal to promoting jobs for Territorians through development that is consistent with our social aspirations. 4370
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