Territory Stories

Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007



Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007

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Parliamentary Record 17


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




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 17 October 2007 4852 Ms Martin: Just take it to the dump. Mr HENDERSON: Yes, I will take it to the dump if it does not occur. Similarly, I ask industry associations to be proactive in calling on their members to clean up their workplaces and their building sites in the lead-up to the season. These provisions in the act give Emergency Services the powers to order companies and individuals to clean up blocks during a Cyclone Watch period. Previously, they could only issue such orders once we were in a Cyclone Warning. It is a provision that probably was adequate 15 to 20 years ago but, today, when we have such development occurring in our city, when a Cyclone Warning has been called most people are thinking about their home and family. Rather than staying on a building site to clean up, most of those workers and their supervisors will probably want to be home preparing their homes and families for a potential cyclone in the warning period. Therefore, bringing that capacity forward to a watch is commonsense. It is certainly going to ensure that we are much better prepared in the event that we have a cyclone potentially bearing down not only on Darwin, but on other communities across the Northern Territory. It is appropriate that penalties are increased. Given public safety is absolutely paramount and the seriousness of any cyclone that crosses our shores and hits any of our communities, the potential for death, property damage and severe injury are, obviously, very real. These penalties reflect the seriousness and accountability of individuals to ensure that they do the right thing, not only of ensuring their families and neighbours are safe, but also for corporations to ensure that the communities in which they do business are going to be safe as much as possible as a result of their activities. The penalties have been lifted to $55 000 for an individual and $275 000 for a corporation. They are maximum penalties. It does not mean that if someone has a block in Leanyer and there are a couple of bits of corrugated iron in the back yard that have not been removed or made safe that they are automatically going to be hit with a $55 000 fine. It is a maximum penalty, but it is appropriate, in line with improving the times when Emergency Services can order a cleanup. Companies and individuals that fail to heed those orders can be facing the courts and fines that reflect the seriousness of the intent of this parliament and Emergency Services in making sure that our community is as safe and well prepared as we can possibly be in the event that a cyclone is bearing down on any of our communities across the Northern Territory. It does not only apply to a cyclone. Emergency Services has the power, in the event of flood and any other natural disaster that may strike the Territory, to order people to clean up, but particularly in a cyclone season where we have a much more developed and robust set of warnings in the event that a cyclone may be bearing down on us. Madam Speaker, I commend the Chief Minister for bringing these amendments before the House and urge all honourable members to support them. Ms LAWRIE (Planning and Lands): Madam Speaker, this bill is extremely important as it provides the counter-disaster controllers with the necessary powers to ensure that we can be best prepared for a cyclone. It is essential that cleanups are undertaken when a cyclone is imminent to help minimise potential property damage and loss of lives. The Northern Territory has adopted the National Building Code of Australia and the relevant Australian standards as our technical building standards. The codes have been reviewed in recent years and the standards in Australia for cyclonic areas are some of the highest in the world. Building standards alone do not mitigate against property damage or loss of lives in extreme cyclones. The Construction Division of the Department of Planning and Infrastructure provides project management for the construction and maintenance of built assets for the Northern Territory governments client agencies so it plays an important part in ensuring that significant government construction projects are prepared for a cyclone. When a Cyclone Watch or Warning is announced, the Construction Division of the department instructs its contractors to ensure that they are made aware of the threat and issues instructions where contractors have not been proactive in cleaning up sites. The Construction Division is continuing to work with Police, Fire and Emergency Services in improving its own responses to cyclones, and is actively involved with debrief sessions after all events. The Department of Planning and Infrastructure is an integral part of the Region 1 Cyclone Counter-Disaster Plan. The plan relies on several response groups to carry out work during and after a cyclone. Among these groups are the Engineering Group, which consists of the Infrastructure and Roads Group and local councils. The Engineering Group has responsibility for the protection, maintenance and restoration of essential services within Counter-Disaster Region 1, which covers Darwin and surrounding