Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007
Parliamentary Record 12
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 14 February 2007 3848 core employees of the IPP from the National Landcare Program. IPP is a pastoral success story. A new memorandum of understanding has been signed for the next five years, allowing the program to continue into the future. As I mentioned at the beginning of my address, another area where my department is achieving excellent results is the Indigenous Marine Rangers program. My department supports six marine ranger units at Melville and Bathurst Islands, Borroloola, Elcho Island, Maningrida, Wadeye and Goulburn Island. We financially support these groups and work closely with them to build the groups operating capacity. The marine rangers are the eyes and ears of the Territorys coastline and provide back-up for Police, Fisheries, Customs, Quarantine, Conservation and other such agencies. In addition, the rangers are role models in their communities and they promote vital safety and conservation messages through their education and liaison activities. One of our departments and the governments priorities is indigenous economic development. The low-tech aquaculture projects at Maningrida and Kulaluk are good examples of our departments involvement in securing a viable future for indigenous communities. The groundbreaking research work undertaken by the Darwin Aquaculture Centre has allowed the development of mud crab aquaculture at the Gwalawa Daraniki Associations mud crab farm at Kulaluk in Darwin, and the Bawinanga Corporations operation at Maningrida. I had the pleasure of visiting the aquaculture farm on a couple of occasions to inspect the breeding programs of the mud crabs and, of course, the barramundi. It is fascinating to see the large ponds of tiny hatchlings and juvenile crabs ready for transport to other sites. Both of these pilot programs have the potential to deliver financial independence to these communities. The Darwin Aquaculture Centre is providing expertise to enable the programs to continue into the future. These projects have inspired other indigenous communities to express interest in aquaculture and several other farms are in the planning. Another of our departments priorities that is having a profound impact is improving the pastoral industry and cattle exports through the application of innovative research. The department has nine research and development farms, comprising three headquarter farms in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs and six regional farms: the Victoria River Research Station, which is the principal pastoral research property; Douglas Daly Research Farm, where mixed farming research takes place; Beatrice Hill Research Farm, which is the developments buffalo and floodplain research facility; the neighbouring Beatrice Hill is the Coastal Plains Research Farm, which is the principal horticultural research property; Ti Tree Research Farm, which is a small horticultural facility; and Old Man Plains Research Station, which is a new pastoral research centre in Central Australia. While important research and development work is carried out on all properties, the best rangeland cattle production system developed at Victoria River Research Station has increased the production of breeder cows from below 50% to over 70%, with a parallel and significant reduction in breeder mortality. This translates to an extra 32 calves branded per 100 breeder cows per year. It is significant projects like this that are delivering real benefits to the industry and, in turn, the Territorys economy. Another example of the beneficial cooperative work being done is the Pigeon Hole Project. Otherwise known as Grazing Strategies for Tomorrow, this is the latest grazing research project in Australia and possibly the world, covering 300 km2 and involving upwards of 6000 cattle. It is a joint project between our department, Heytesbury Beef, CSIRO, the Department of Natural Resources, Environment and Arts, and the University of Queensland. It is sponsored by Meat and Livestock Australia, and is an excellent example of government industry cooperation. The Pigeon Hole project has been running since 2001 and is an extension of the grazing studies our department has been running at Mt Sanford since 1993, which have shown that cattle production can be sustainably increased with appropriate infrastructure development and grazing management systems. Add to this two other projects, and it becomes clear just how much beneficial research work is being done by our department. The Central Australian Grazing partnership is a large-scale study of alternative ways of rotating grazing and is being carried out in association with the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre and the Centralian Land Management Association. It was started in 2005, and the first results are becoming available now. Also, we are involved in the Grazing Land Management project, which sees the latest knowledge on rangeland management applied on any individual basis to participating stations. This package has been a great success and is tailored to each property, ensuring better and more sustainable use of grasses and water which, in turn, improves the propertys bottom line and, as a result, the lifestyle of those on the station. While I am on the subject of research, another section of our department which conducts
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