Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015

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Parliamentary Record 24


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 Thursday 19 November 2015 7432 Thank you for helping me fly, Kerry Wetherall. You are an exceptional person, and I will watch so proudly when you fly as an ACPO and then fly into those stripes of being a police officer. Thank you, Kerry Wetherall. Mr WOOD (Nelson): Madam Speaker, I will read a letter from some constituents of mine from Knuckey Lagoon. I think this is the letter published in the NT News on 3 November. It was addressed to the Minister for Lands and Planning, Mr David Tollner MLA: We are the local residents of the Knuckeys Lagoon community on the 22 ha special purpose lease in Darwin, held for us by the Aboriginal Development Foundation (ADF) since the land was handed over by Marshall Perron in 1979. Many of our relatives who won this land are buried on this block. Before the houses were built on the lease our families lived in tin sheds in the bushland around Berrimah without running water or any other facility. After the land was given to ADF, roads were put in and houses were built but we began to lose control of our land. Over the years since then the land has been used as a housing area for homeless people from many other NT places, something like Bagot. We do not know these people and there has been violence from outsiders being housed on our lease without anyone asking us. In September this year your government issued a statement about the Kulaluk lease, which said, Indigenous communities in Darwin will be empowered to take control of their own futures thanks to a landmark agreement with the Northern Territory government. Although the statement was referring to the Kulaluk lease, we would like to be able to take control of our future too! The government media release also stated, A memorandum of understanding will enable the Gwalwa Daraniki Association (GDA) to unlock the economic potential of the land it administers. We would like to ask, why do the Kulaluk leaseholders get preferential treatment? Our block is very valuable and if we had control of it, we could make a lot of improvements. That is what our parents dreamed of back when they were given the land. But at the moment we have less control over our affairs than we did when we were living in tin humpies on vacant land. In the media release about the Kulaluk lease, Adam Giles said some Kulaluk land will be converted to freehold and held by the GDA for the benefit of its members. Why cant we at Knuckeys Lagoon have freehold title to our land to be held for the benefit of our members? Mr Giles also said, For too long governments have been reluctant to hand Indigenous people full control of their own lands. But I believe in giving communities the chance to build a better and brighter future for themselves. We at Knuckeys Lagoon strongly agree with what Mr Giles said, because for many years we have had no say whatsoever in the future of our lease. Things happen without anyone consulting us. We feel powerless. Finally, the government statement says that the Lands and Planning minister David Tollner hoped other communities would follow the lead set by the GDA. Why cant we at Knuckeys Lagoon decide our own futures please, Mr Tollner? Like you said in the statement, Its time we allowed Territorians to take responsibility for their own futures. The government statement ends, Im sure the Gwalwa Daraniki Association will succeed and inspire other communities to seize the opportunities offered by the Territory government, said Mr Tollner. Mr Tollner, please then offer us, the local residents of Knuckeys Lagoon, the same opportunities as Kulaluk to do something with our land. At the moment we are living as helpless tenants of an absentee landlord. Yours sincerely Tanya Stevens, May Stevens, John Petherick, Cherie Bangun, Louise Bangun, Dominic Bishop, Titus Bishop, Marlene Dargie, local residents of Knuckey Lagoon community SPL. Special purpose lease. Madam Speaker, I read that letter into Hansard tonight because I have raised this matter with the previous government and this government and asked them to evaluate the situation on both Knuckey Lagoon and the 15 Mile community, because those people are living in no-mans land. As the residents of Knuckey Lagoon have said, they do not have control over their lives. I ask the Chief Minister, as Minister for Indigenous Affairs in the Northern Territory, what happened to the reports the government was doing in relation