Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010
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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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 21 October 2010 Darwin. There is a balance to be achieved between the ethical and sustainable treatment of crocodiles and the safety of all the public. In my view, as a community, we are entitled to expect that our government will give close attention to that balance and to ensuring that the balance does not tip too far away from public safety. The Department has responded proactively to this tragedy by implementing an educational program. The current Crocodile Management Plan prepared and approved by the NT government promises the community that there will be increased attention to and efforts with regard to public safety around the Top End crocodile population. These initiatives must be resourced. Madam Deputy Speaker, I applaud the minister for bringing this legislation on and will continue to fight, not just for more boats and more traps, but for staff - trained people - to ensure the job is done. Mr KNIGHT (Business and Employment): Madam Deputy Speaker, I support the ministers legislation today. I have some personal knowledge about a case which kicked Mr Elferink: Do that again, that personal knowledge thing. Mr KNIGHT: sorry, you want to jump in here and play politics with the death of an 11-year-old girl, member for Port Darwin? He likes to trawl around about the death of small children - it is disgusting. I know the mother of this young lady and it is abhorrent the member for Port Darwin would laugh and giggle about the death of an 11-year-old girl in such horrific circumstances. Mr ELFERINK: A point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker! The minister must know he is well out of line. I ask him to reconsider his language, if not withdraw those words. Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no point of order, member for Port Darwin. If you wish to make a personal explanation you may approach the Speaker afterwards. Mr KNIGHT: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. The member for Port Darwin was mocking me for the staggered start of my speech - I was gathering my thoughts around this young girl. I have been in contact with Charlene for the last couple of years because she manages one of my investment properties. It was not so long ago, after the death of Briony, Charlene was doing an open house for some new tenants. I visited the property and it was a very eerie situation with young children running around. I cannot fathom the emotions a mother would be going through with the loss of a child under those circumstances. A croc attack is horrific. That is what I was thinking about, and the member for Port Darwin laughing is quite distasteful given the situation. Briony went to Taminmin High School, a school many students from my electorate attend. Those kids were traumatised. They are rural kids who swim in waterholes, as Briony did, on a regular basis. It is the rural life, and to be taken so tragically affected those kids tremendously. It is a little personal, a little close to home for me, and I hope Charlene gets some comfort with her life and is able to remember Briony in a fond and positive light. I have lived in the Territory for 22 years, spending most of my time in rural and bush areas. Crocs are a part of life and I scratch my head at the things I did in my younger years out bush; wading through lagoons as part of my work or recreation - I would not do it now. Many people I know who have been in the Territory a long time and talk about where they would swim or what they used to do would be horrified anyone is doing those things today because there are certainly more crocodiles around. They are getting gamer and they are coming closer to urban areas - it is a fact of life. Tommy Nichols highlights it is a fact of life; we live with crocodiles and you cannot be too cautious about it. You take heed of warnings, which is why the Crocwise campaign is important - to get the message and awareness out to kids. When it is hot, kids want to be around water. We also have campaigns about swimming in stormwater drains, where we have had tragic loss of life. It is about teaching school kids about drains and open waterways where there is potential for crocodiles to move. They can move large distances across floodplains to reach waterways - they are very vicious creatures and you cannot put enough safeguards in place. Rangers visited Berry Springs Primary School to run the Crocwise campaign. Education is a critical part of ensuring people are cautious. You can put more croc traps out but they cannot be everywhere; education is vital. I shake my head at some of the antics that occur. We have seen pictures of people on croc traps and in croc traps. It is bizarre for people to be inside croc traps where bait has been set and there is food and blood in the water. You wonder why people do it. I came off the Mandorah Ferry and there was a splash in the water, and I wondered what was going on. People were 6504
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