Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007
Parliamentary Record 17
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 17 October 2007 4895 did today. This evening, he mentioned the model done up by his department. All this confusion, unfortunately, seems to say the minister is on very shaky ground as to showing proof of why Litchfield is not viable. I am passionate about the future of local government in the Northern Territory. I want it to be done on grounds that are sound and correct. At the same time, I want the government to realise we are a community. It is not just about the dollars and cents and the rates. We are not just about business plans. We are a community that has developed over time and we are proud of that community. I enjoy living in that community. I do not want to see that community destroyed simply because we have some economic buffoons in the department who can only see economic rationalism as the reason for doing this. We need to do better. We need to involve the community and, until we can involve the community, this reform process will be a hollow one indeed. Mr HAMPTON (Stuart): Mr Deputy Speaker, tonight I wish to speak about one of the communities in my electorate of Stuart, Yuelamu, also known as Mt Allan. It is similar to many other small communities around the Northern Territory in its history and the services it provides. Just to give a bit of history of the community, it was formerly known as the Mt Allan cattle station and was purchased by the Aboriginal Development Foundation in 1976. In 1979, it became a claim that was lodged under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. The claim was granted and title deeds handed over to traditional owners in 1988, but that took nine years and several court cases. It was a long-running claim that, as I said, went through several court cases, but eventually the traditional owners, the Anmatjere people of Yuelamu, Mt Allan, were granted their title deeds to the community in 1988. Yuelamu is one of several Anmatjere communities in the region. The Anmatjere language group covers about 1000 people in the region, including communities around Ti Tree, going west across to Laramba or Napperby and then on to Yuelamu. It is home to the Anmatjere people. It is a small, tight community but, in the language group, it extends right across to Ti Tree and east through Utopia. Yuelamu is very similar to other small communities. It has a school, store, womens centre, mens centre, crche, a clinic and council office, excellent work sheds where the young fellows do a lot of training, particularly in heavy machinery, and, like other communities, it has a football oval. That latest addition to the community is a BMX track, which is slowly taking shape with assistance from The Broken Spoke bicycle business in Alice Springs. It is right near the school and the kids are getting very excited as it moves closer to being completed. It gives them another recreational activity. The community has grown since the early days of 1979, from 76 people to about 300 now. With this growth, there have been a lot of challenges, and one of the positive things that has come out of it is the Anmatjere peoples talent in the art industry. Probably one of the most famous Anmatjere artists was the late Clifford Possum. Unfortunately, Tjapaltjarri, which is his skin name, passed away in 2003 not long after he received the Order of Australia, which was very sad. Many other great artists have come through that area of Mt Allen or Yuelamu. It certainly has had its share of challenges, including relying on fresh or potable water. This goes back five or six years when the dam, which was the main source of potable water for the community, dried up. Through that region, severe droughts are having a big impact on the community and Yuelamu felt the brunt of it with their only potable water source drying up. At that time, my predecessor Peter Toyne fought hard in Cabinet to secure funds from this government to invest in works to improve the capacity of the dam. I am proud to say this government put significant money into that through a lot of the hard work by Peter Toyne, and I acknowledge the great contribution from this government. In the vicinity of $1m of works have gone into the dam. Over three years, the people of Yuelamu have done it hard, having to survive on bottled water being trucked in from Alice Springs. I know, having visited many times, the hard times they went through. We all take water for granted. We can go to a tap and get cold potable water but, for the people at Yuelamu, for three years they had to survive from bottled water being trucked in. They were hard times for them and it was fantastic to have our minister, my colleague, the member for Karama, out there on 7 September officially launching the dam works, which include building a new wall in the middle of the existing dam and making half of it 5 m deeper, which will reduce the amount of evaporation. The walls of the dam were raised so storage capacity could go to 1000 mL, and the water treatment process was upgraded and a new water holding tank installed. Work was completed early this year. The old men at Yuelamu waited very patiently for this because, not long after it was finished, there were unusually high levels of rain in that area. So, with the minister coming out on 7 September, it was great to see all that work had been put in. The
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