Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002

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Parliamentary Record 9


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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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 27 November 2002 Mr VATSKALIS: Yes, certainly in protecting the mangroves. I will pick up the interjection. It is surprising that members on the other side complain about that, but in the past 26 years I have not heard any sounds from any member on the other side about the mangroves, even from Dr Lim who was a member of the committee for seven years and all of a sudden was dumped by his leader who appointed the member for Drysdale, and quite rightly so, and the member for Daly. At least those two people have genuine experience and interest in the environment... Members inteijecting. Mr VATSKALIS: ... and will be competent and be able to participate actively and constructively in the committee ... Madam SPEAKER: Order! Order, the minister has the floor. Mr Elferink: And he is talking about mangroves. Madam SPEAKER: Order! I thought I gave you a warning. Mr Elferink: You did, Madam Speaker. Mr VATSKALIS: Send him to the mangroves, Madam Speaker. As for the mangroves, there is a very rare species in Macdonnell that is unique to the rest of the Territory. The government has taken active steps to protect them by incorporating them into the planning process. Next time somebody wants to do something that will effect mangroves, he has to actually seek permission or produce evidence why even one piece of mangrove has to be removed. The same thing is happening about the Darwin Harbour and all the other coastal areas in the Territory. At least we are genuine in our approach. We have established a committee to look after the coastal areas in the Territory, a committee not comprising one particular sector of the community, but also comprising environmentalists, the so-called greenies, people who use the harbour, developers, people with boating interests - a very broad spectrum of our community. I am very pleased that the Minister for Environment and Heritage has brought this to the House. It is a very good start and, in the future, we will see that committee dealing with issues in the Territoiy that will affect the Territorys environment. At the moment, we are on the crest of industrial development which we have been pursuing for some time - and the other side of this House, the then government now opposition, really worked hard to bring gas onshore. It continues to do so, it will do exactly the same. The Territory will change significantly should gas come onshore. Certainly, when the railway finishes at East Arm, people will not be able to recognise Darwin Harbour, or the Territory if - let us say i f - Pechiney establishes their aluminium smelter at Gunn Point and when the Wickham Point LNG plant is up and running. I congratulate my colleague, the Minister for Environment and Heritage. Certainly, I would like to see active bipartisan support. You have to remember that it is up to us to be independent, and to contribute positively and constructively to this committee in order to protect the environment of the Territory. Mr BALDWIN (Daly): Madam Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition said, I will be flagging an amendment to this motion that I encourage all members to support. It is at long last that this government has acted in doing something to show its credentials as far as the environment. At long last, after 20-odd years of a sessional committee on the environment in this parliament, we had to wait 18 months. I thank my colleague, the member for Greatorex, for reminding and keeping in front of this government the fact that they had not established anything in the way of a committee, independent or otherwise, to monitor the concerns of the environment. All of the issues that have come up over the last 18 months - whatever it is since this government has been in power - that could have been examined quite expeditiously by a committee, have gone begging. It is about time you introduced this. We had to get a new minister. The former minister who had coverage for environment has been almost deathly silent on matters concerning the environment. It took a new minister to unload the old minister, to finally discover that they should do something. That minister was reminded of that by my colleague as recently as 20 November 2002 in a press release calling for the establishment of a sessional committee once again. I certainly welcome it. This side of the House welcomes it, and we will work diligently to ensure that matters of concern that are referred by this parliament, and also by the minister, are worked through very diligently. You will get full cooperation from members from this side of the House who are going to sit on that committee. Having said all of that, I move the amendment. I will distribute it; it is in writing. The government Whip has a copy of the amendment. It is a very simple amendment. It says we should insert two 3041