Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010
Parliamentary Record 15
Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 21 October 2010 running along the gangplanks going up the stairs wet. I could not figure out what was going on. Other locals, like me, were hopping off the ferry. Some young people were jumping off the top rail of the jetty into the water. There have been crocodiles on that gangplank. There are umpteen sharks in the area. The antics people get up to are crazy sometimes. Hopefully, having new penalties will make people think about what they do. The increased power for our rangers to impose infringement notices is extremely important. It is about an education campaign, and we are intimately aware of the need for resourcing and are working through that. At the same time, the Crocwise campaigns are vital. I have a large bush electorate with many rivers and many Aboriginal people live in those remote areas. Most times, people do the right thing; they are very cautious about where they swim. However, when you have alcohol mixed with bad behaviour around waterways there can be tragic circumstances. I know of instances of people being taken by crocodiles at Daly River where alcohol was involved. By and large, people are aware of what to do and what not to do, and practices are passed down through families. That is what we need to do as a society. In the urbanised areas we do not have a passing down of that knowledge. Many people are moving to Darwin and we have to make people aware kids and parents - about what they can and cannot do. Many local residents do not get out of Darwin much to Litchfield and Kakadu. This awareness campaign will be much more effective than having police everywhere. Minister, I congratulate you on this legislation. These new penalties will certainly help. I commend you for your commitment to protecting the community from crocodiles. Mr HAMPTON (Parks and Wildlife): Madam Deputy Speaker, I thank the members for Brennan and Daly for their contribution. I will begin by stressing the role and responsibilities of government and me as a minister. There is no doubt about it; one of the key priorities as minister for Environment responsible for the management of crocodiles in the Northern Territory is public safety. I do not shy away from that. We are legislators - that is a key role as members of the Legislative Assembly and the reason I am here today. Early in my job as minister for Environment responsible for crocodile management plans I noticed a legislative gap which limited prosecution of people who behave badly - a worrying and increasing trend, particularly when it comes to interfering with crocodile traps. We are here because there is a legislative gap which limits the ability to prosecute the increasing trend of interfering with crocodile traps. Another role of ministers and government is to introduce policy, which is spelt out in the crocodile management plan. Under that is the Crocwise strategy. As responsible minister, I have kept a very close eye on the Crocwise strategy as an important part of public safety. Another important role for ministers is discussing things within Caucus and Cabinet and fighting hard for resources. To date, I have done that. Both the member for Brennan and the Coroner said there is a long way to go. I have read the Coroners report and am aware of the need to increase resources in the 50 km management zone. I will continue to fight for those resources, member for Brennan. As minister, I have done as much as possible in bringing forward todays amendments to the legislation regarding the Crocwise strategy - a good, public safety policy - and in fighting hard to resource the strategy and ensure public safety is not compromised. As the amendments say, the bill will establish an offence under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act which prohibits touching, standing on, entering, moving, or otherwise disturbing a crocodile trap and, as the member for Brennan quite rightly mentioned in his contribution, the many examples we have seen on the Internet and the front page of the NT News are disturbing. Hopefully, these amendments pass today and we can deter people from such stupid behaviour. The offences will carry a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units, equivalent to $6650 or six months imprisonment. I believe that will send a strong message to people that this type of behaviour is not accepted and there are severe penalties. I thank my colleague, the member for Daly, for his contribution - someone who has seen firsthand that crocodiles are indiscriminate killers. If the opportunity arises, member for Brennan, human fatalities can result which causes immense stress to families, particularly the younger people in our schools. I thank the member for Daly for his important personal contribution to this debate. We cannot forget the victims family in these sad circumstances. Returning to some of the points raised by the member for Brennan, I take the findings of the Coroners report seriously. Will the laws apply to croc traps set by contractors under outsourcing? I can say that the new laws will apply to traps owned by the government no matter where they 6505
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