Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012



Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012

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Parliamentary Record 1


Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Hansard Office

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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 Tuesday 30 October 2012 257 I say to the Northern Territory government and the Chief Minister in particular that we should not miss this opportunity with the white paper. We should engage all sectors of the community: education institutions, Indigenous groups of the Territory, and both political parties should work together to place the Territory in the vital position to serve not only Australia, but also Southeast Asia. With regard to cattle, unfortunately we have put all our eggs in one basket, Indonesia. There are things that happen in Indonesia that are beyond our control. Some of the political issues in Indonesia will dictate the action that Indonesia will take tomorrow. One thing I have realised in the past two years is that the political situation and the political push and shove within Indonesia will dictate how many cattle come from Australia, when, and where. We have seen now that Indonesia wants to become self-sufficient. That is very ambitious. They will probably reach it, but not in the time frame they want. Under the previous CLP government, we lost markets. We lost Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. Under our government, we renewed links with Malaysia and Vietnam. We had 1000 head of cattle exported to Vietnam in 2011 and, of course, we had another 1000 exported to Vietnam recently. That meant the system we put in place worked and was not just selling cattle, but the department providing technical support to establish the feedlots and upgrade the abattoirs. I encourage the minister to continue that work because people do not just want to buy cattle; they can buy cattle from anywhere. What they cannot buy is the help with the systems we provided. The minister told us he went to Indonesia but he did not tell us who he met there. Did he meet any of the ministers? The minister for Trade is vital and a very good friend of Australia. Did he meet minister Suswono who is one of the ministers who pushed very strongly for self-sufficiency and, subsequently, for the reduction of imports from Australia? Talking about food exports and the development of the Territory as the food bowl of Asia can be quite difficult due to the price difference between food produced in Asia and food produced here. However, we have opportunities for making the Territory a food bowl and food source for Australia and the emerging middle class of Asia. I am very proud to say that for the past 10 years we worked very hard with the horticulture and agriculture industries and today the Territory is the biggest supplier of mangoes in Australia. We have done it with mangoes; we can do it in other areas. Before I finish, I come to the fishing industry. The three-hub economy is missing something that would support it; that is, commercial fishing. In the past few weeks the Territory government has not supported the fishing industry, in particular, the commercial barramundi fishing industry, with the closure of Chambers Bay and Finke Bay. I have with me a letter to the Chief Minister from Kevin Enniss, a commercial fisherman, that was provided to him on 16 October and, more recently, a letter by Ziko Ilic and Carmel Ball titled Sharing our resources, Fresh NT Wild Caught Barramundi. I seek leave to table those letters because they highlight the plight of the commercial barramundi fishing industry. With regard to the closure of these areas, it was vital ... Mr WESTRA van HOLTHE: A point of order, Madam Speaker! I move the member for Casuarina be granted an extension of time, pursuant to Standing Order 77. Motion agreed to. Mr VATSKALIS: I seek leave to table these two letters as well, Madam Speaker. Leave granted. Mr VATSKALIS: Thank you, member for Katherine. The commercial fishing industry is important for the Territory. We have the opportunity to market our fishing industry throughout Australia and abroad as a clean and sustainable industry because we are sustainable. We only harvest 8% of our seafood resources when other countries harvest up to 30%. The fishing industry here gives a unique opportunity to provide new jobs and new enterprise to Indigenous Territorians. I remember visiting the Tiwis and watching them farm barramundi. That was a fantastic opportunity for Indigenous Territorians and I was alarmed that I could not see one Indigenous person employed there. Most of the people were fly-in fly-out. There are opportunities at Groote Eylandt, Borroloola, Wadeye, and the coast line around the Northern Territory for commercial barramundi fishing, farmed barramundi fishing or other activities that are currently exploited by people who sometimes do not live in the Territory and come from as far away as Tasmania. I find it ridiculous that we have people who come from Tasmania, lease a barramundi licence and fish in the Territory when someone who lives in Wadeye cannot do that or has not done that, or somebody who lives in Groote Eylandt has not done that and could not do that. Trepang, bechede-mer or sea cucumber, is a species that Indigenous communities can successfully farm and make into a viable fishing operation.