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 4853 areas. The prime tasks are the maintenance and restoration of public buildings, the taking of temporary measures to ensure that services and buildings required during the restoration period are available, the clearing of essential traffic routes and relief from local flooding where drains are blocked, and the opening and maintaining of rubbish and debris tips. The Infrastructure and Roads Group has responsibility for the maintenance and restoration of public buildings and services associated with these buildings and the clearance of debris from routes within Darwin, including patrolling roads and reporting on conditions within Counter-Disaster Region 1. These areas also provide professional engineering advice to the Katherine and Alice Springs Flood Plans. While these are now established, they need to be dynamic documents so that lessons learnt can be incorporated into the plans. As part of Budget 2007-08, the government announced substantial upgrades to several cyclone shelters in the Darwin and rural areas. These included upgrades to shelters at Casuarina Senior College, Nightcliff High School and Taminmin High School. I can advise that a contract was let to the Nightcliff High School project on 10 August and this is due for completion in November. Works at Taminmin High School will be carried out by a contractor already programmed to carry out other works within the building identified for the cyclone shelter upgrade. This work is also due for completion in November. Following concerns being raised by parents and the department of Education in relation to the timing of works at Casuarina Senior College, I agreed to postpone the Casuarina works until next year. This will avoid any disruption to the school and students, particularly at the all-important time of senior exams. The works were to replace the current cyclone shelter areas into one large area for ease of management. The deferral of works does not affect safety, as the existing cyclone rooms are still to be available to accommodate up to 1500 people at Casuarina Senior College in the event of a cyclone. Madam Speaker, the Top End of the Northern Territory is naturally prone to tropical cyclone events, with some two to three cyclones affecting the region each year. We need to be prepared for these events and minimise the risks. The importance of the cleanup cannot be underestimated, and provisions in the bill to extend the cleanup period from 24 hours to 48 hours is critical. We have all seen the significant development and construction occurring in Darwin at the moment. At any one time, we have about 14 cranes on the skyline of Darwin. There are a lot of unit developments and office buildings going up, and there is significant work done in securing those sites in the event of a Cyclone Watch or Warning. The 48-hour period will give industry an opportunity to respond to the warnings and instructions from Emergency Services and officers in my agencies and Work Health to get those sites prepared and to tie down anything that can be tied down or remove everything that could become debris in a cyclone. Those of us who went through Cyclone Tracy know the critical importance of tying down debris. The main cause of damage during Cyclone Tracy and a significant effect on the loss of life was the debris that was flying through the air that night. I can recall, as a child, being trapped in a car during Cyclone Tracy, and the period of Cyclone Tracy prior to the eye. The amount of debris that was flying through the air was absolutely horrifying. It was pieces of corrugated iron and debris of the like and, essentially, we had to cram, as children, in under the seats of the car because the debris was hitting the car and, in instances, bits of the car were basically being sheered off at window level because of the extent of the debris, which become extremely dangerous missiles in the event of a cyclone. Madam Speaker, I take the cleanup period extremely seriously. I know it will mean that there is less likelihood of significant damage to property and, indeed, less likelihood of loss of life. I joined with people on the weekend in the northern suburbs, in dragging anything that is loose and unnecessary in my yard out on to the nature strip. I join with the members in this debate in congratulating Darwin City Council for its pre-cyclone cleanup. It is critical that we ensure that our residential suburban areas are prepared for the cyclone season - which, of course, we are about to enter into again - but, equally as important, our commercial industrial areas take on their responsibility of ensuring that they are as prepared as possible. Therefore, the extension of 48 hours is a significant change to our ability to be prepared for a cyclone. I note with some sadness that Palmerston City Council is not, at this stage, planning to embark on a similar pre-cyclone cleanup as Darwin City Council has. I urge them to reconsider that decision. Palmerston is a developing city, as we know. There are new residential areas under construction in Palmerston, and it is particularly important for Palmerston residents to be aware of the need to secure and clean up in preparation for a cyclone. People lead very busy lives, and it is not until a threat is imminent that people start to turn their

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