Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 March 2005



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 March 2005

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Parliamentary Record 25


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 23 March 2005 I would also like to address the member for Amhem who talks at most sittings of the Community Harmony Program. I always thought that harmony related to all sectors of the community, and I believe the dictionary meaning of harmony relates to that. I would like to let the minister know that at the time of becoming the member for Katherine I inquired about listening in at the Community Harmony meetings in Katherine. I approached the chairman, who at that time said she would have to think about it - like I am some guru. She came back and said that I was not able to attend the Community Harmony meetings, and that I would be provided with minutes for those meetings. Well, I was provided with minutes for those meetings for a very short time, but I have had to ask four times since if I could have copies of the minutes. I wonder where the community harmony starts and stops because it certainly does not include the local member. Much emphasis and publicity has been placed on hospitals, health and teachers, and rightly so. However, the plight and future of St John Ambulance in the Northern Territory has not been highlighted anywhere near enough. This very valuable service is under threat, and that includes in the Centre o f Australia. That saddens me very deeply, from the point that St John Ambulance has a very dear spot in my heart. I became a volunteer for St John Ambulance in South Australia many moons ago - and I am not going to tell you how many years because it will date me considerably. I gave 15 years of my valuable time, quite willingly, as a volunteer with St John Ambulance in South Australia. Part of that time was as an ambulance driver, and I was on call at night. I was a volunteer and unpaid, but I have the greatest respect for the full-time staff who give up so much of their time to rescue people who have terrible injuries. In the Northern Territory, there is an extra challenge because they have such long distances to travel. I really encourage the government to re-examine the St John Ambulance Service. It is under threat, and I would like to see them give some support and ensure that the future of St John Ambulance in the Northern Territory is assured. In my role as shadow minister for Mines and Energy, there are some good news stories for Central Australia, with a couple of significant developments. Mithril Resources, which is a very small company, is exploring in Central Australia and have been here a while. Mithril is a recognised company and is looking to progress the developments in the Territory. They are keen to promote their finds which are mainly nickel and copper deposits. I know they are attending the AGES Conference which is being held at the Crowne Plaza as I speak. Also attending the conference are representatives of the Harts Range deposit that we refer to as gamet sands. I have been advised that the industry would like us to no longer refer to gamet sands; they would like to be called abrasive sands, as the industry does not feel that gamet sands reflects all of the industrial sands contained in the deposit. Therefore, in the future, I will refer to it as abrasive sands. The abrasive sands deposit mined by Olympia is good news for Central Australia, with the company being publicly listed. They have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement, have been environmentally assessed, and intend to begin operation in October this year. With the employment of at least 50 people that is, indeed, good news for mining in the Northern Territory, and especially Central Australia. Another mining development in the news lately is Deep Yellow, which has actively explored in Central Australia with some very positive drill results. With the announcement of the federal government inquiry into fossil fuel, I hope that the Northern Territory government gives its full support to this company to continue their exploration and development. In my shadow role in Primary Industry and Fisheries, I would like to touch on the cattle industry. The most serious issue that is affecting the cattle industry in Central Australia at the moment is the drought. The minister touched on that in his speech just prior to mine. It is very grim, and members of the cattle and pastoral industry are in survival mode. While tourism is usually highlighted as the economic saviour o f the Northern Territory, we must not lose sight that the cattle industry underpins our economy in Central Australia to the tune of at least $40m and needs government support. A drought policy was signed off by the industry in February 2004 and tabled in Cabinet in November 2004. This policy should have enabled the affected cattle properties to get assistance from the Northern Territory government and, even though I have not had the opportunity to read it, I believe the policy should qualify you if y ou have had drought conditions for two years. The pastoralists and the cattle industry are very close to that now, so they should be able to qualify fo r that. Droughts affect everyone, and when pastoralists who are affected by the current drought have to cut back on their spending, it affects all of the businesses that they have to deal with; therefore, it is a roll-on effect. Another impediment to the development of the pastoral industry is the state of rural and regional roads, and it is gratifying to see that the government and opposition can agree o n this point and have a bipartisan agreement t o lobby the federal government for additional funding. In the past, the Cattlemens Association has been the only 9086

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