Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010

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Parliamentary Record 15


Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012




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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 - Thursday 21 October 2010 Coroners recommendation to resource the expansion of management in the Darwin region had been met. I will read the letter from the CEO at the time to the Attorney-General: My Department wrote to you on 16 July 2010 to provide information on actions taken which related to the Coroners findings following his investigation into the death of Miss Briony Anne Goodsell. In that letter we informed you that the Department had received an additional $190 000 per annum to expand crocodile management in the Darwin region and, consequently a select tender had been called to undertake management of the crocodile traps in Darwin Harbour. The plan to expand the crocodile management area was made in response to the death of Miss Goodsell [which is what this document is referring to] and the allocation of funds enabled that plan to be enacted. It was expected that private sector management of the crocodile traps in Darwin Harbour would allow the resources of the current Crocodile Management Team to be focused on the expanded management area in the outer Darwin region. Unfortunately, no tender was received in response to the request and a decision is now being made whether to issue another call for tenders or to expand the capacity of the current Crocodile Management Team to undertake the work. It goes on to say: In either case, the Coroners recommendations to resource the expansion of management in the Darwin region has been met. How can you say the recommendations have been met when you have said it was to go out to private tender, or you were going to expand the current team, neither of which has occurred? It says: There were no tenders received to extend this to private enterprise, however, we know the current team has not been expanded in any way. The Coroner has said: It is obvious that if the rangers or other personnel are expected to carry out more work over a larger area, more resources are required. How can a comment be made, or an opinion formed - I will read it again: In either case, the Coroners recommendation to resource the expansion of management in the Darwin region has been met. It has not been met. It is not close to being met. Yet the Attorney-General makes a submission to this parliament saying she is satisfied. Well, I am not satisfied. I appreciate you are trying; you have tried privately; however, that has not worked. You have said you will consider expanding the current team - which does a fantastic job - and you have given them resources such as boats and additional croc traps, but you have not put on extra staff to manage it. What is the succession plan for people like Tommy Nichols and his team? There does not appear to be a succession plan in place. Tommy, and his team, will not be around forever. I find it abhorrent someone can make a comment and it is taken to the level of government being satisfied. Sometimes things from the coalface to the ministerial level get sanitised so much that ministers, unfortunately, are in a position where they think all is good when sometimes all is not good. I will read from section 25 of the Coroners report. This is very important; however, I do not want to get off the track that we are supportive of this legislation. It is important; there is a reason for its introduction and I applaud the minister and his department for bringing it forward. I am frustrated to find the Coroner has recommended a process and the department has tried something - I know you are working through it but to come up with the statement that: We have met the recommendations, is plainly wrong. Section 25 says: Even assuming that all these initiatives are properly resourced and implemented, I would urge those reading these findings to heed the words of Mr Nichols, who has more than 20 years experience working with crocodiles in the Top End (transcript p30): I dont want to give anyone a false sense of security that you are able to swim in certain areas. You can only swim in designated areas and thats all the crocs are going to be there in the wet season, theres no doubt about that every year we are identifying new areas we have had areas where we have always put traps and every year we are still identifying more. Section 26 of the Coroners report says: As a part of the Top End community, we must face the reality that dangerous, man eating animals live amongst us; not just in the outback, but in populated areas of 6503