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




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 27 November 2002 5. the committee be empowered to consider, disclose and publish the minutes of proceedings, evidence taken and records of similar committees appointed in previous Assemblies; 6. the committee be empowered to publish from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it and, unless otherwise ordered by the committee, a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as do take place in public; 7. the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of two or more of its members and to refer to any such subcommittee any matter which the committee is empowered to examine and that the quorum of a subcommittee shall be two; and 8. the foregoing provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the standing orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to move this motion, but this is much more than an environment committee. Its name says it all: it is also about sustainable development. I know this government, certainly when we came to power, our platform emphasised the whole issue of sustainable development. Under our environment and planning platform it says: Government programs: Labor will: (1) ensure that environmental considerations are integrated into economic decisions. Cabinet submissions on matters that have significant environmental implications will be required to address the environmental issues. So it is up there in lights. It is not just an environment committee. It is not just a carry on of what the previous government did. We have spent the last year - and I commend the member for Karama - thinking very closely about how to move forward effectively on environmental issues, how to safeguard our environment but, at the same time, ensure that economic development is not compromised. We know in our Territory, that the minerals industry provides just under 20% or thereabouts of our GSP. They are a very important industry. But I am also aware that the modem mining industry is very, very cognisant and careful of their environmental performance. I know from travelling around the Territory to various mining operations, what a fantastic job they do in rehabilitation and preserving and protecting the environment. So, environmental values are very high up on their list. I am sure that they will want to have a great deal of input into this committee, as they should because they are a major industry. However, balanced against economic development is the very important issue of maintaining our wonderful environmental integrity. I believe that my portfolios of tourism and the environment fit together very closely because it is our wonderful environment, our natural assets, our environmental integrity that many tourists come to see in the Northern Territory. They are interested in our wildlife and our bird life. They are interested in our natural attractions. Some of those things are under threat and we will discuss part of that when we come to the terms of reference. I do not want to foreshadow that debate. But it is important that we address serious environmental issues and sustainable development. We also recognise that environmental conservation is an essential element of promoting a high quality of life and lifestyle. We recognise that ecological sustainability is compatible with economic development through the adoption of environmentally sound and sustainable development practices. We can actually bolster economic development and employment opportunities. I hope that this view is shared by all members of this Assembly. I look forward to the committee providing informative reports to the parliament and the government as we strive to balance the needs of economic growth with the imperative of protecting our Territory for the enjoyment of future generations. Mr BURKE (Opposition Leader): Madam Speaker, I will be brief because this is an important committee to have reconstituted in the Northern Territory. It is a committee that I have just been advised was first initiated in 1977; a long time for a sessional committee to be continually a part of this parliament, and only stopped on the election of the Labor government. It surprised members on this side of the House that a party and a government that would put such a store in environmental issues as soon as they were elected disbanded that particular environmental committee. One thing that could be said about that committee, and I certainly hope that this new committee conducts itself in a similar way, is that it took a very bipartisan approach to environmental matters. They worked constructively together and, in my time as Chief Minister, I was particularly pleased with the way they conducted themselves. 3039