Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975
Parliamentary Record 5
Northern Territory. Department of the Legislative Assembly
Debates for 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
pages 457 - 498
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
488 In its present form, the bill will apply to the Northern Territory in toto. That was not the intention of those who proposed the bill and I don't think it was the intention of the Majority Leader in sponsoring the bill. Therefore, I foreshadow an amendment confining the operation of this bill to a 40 mile radius of the GPO in Darwin. We have in Alice Springs numerous campers, European and nonEuropean, camping on Crown land up and down the length of the Todd River and in numerous other vacant Crown land areas. I am quite sure that it was not the intention of those who had this bill drafted that such areas and such accommodation should be covered under the umbrella of this particular bill. If the bill comes to apply to the entire of the Northern Territory, someone looking at the legislation could say that there is a legal mechanism whereby they can continue indefinitely to have these presently illegal camp sites. Mrs LA WRIE: In speaking to this bill, I recall the words of the honourable Majority Leader who of course did not sponsor the bill but presented it on behalf of the government department. He indicated that urgency for the passage of this bill was to be sought and that he would be guided by the feeling of honourable members. Consequently, I advised him that I did not think sufficient case has been made for the urgent passage of this legislation. I deplore the introduction and passage of legislation through the one sittings of the Assembly unless there has been demonstrated a real and urgent need for such passage. That has not been established to my satisfaction and I would hope that the majority party would adjourn debate on the bill for further consideration by the people concerned through their elected representatives and the bill be debated to its final conclusion in the October sittings of this Assembly. Having said that, I would indicate my general support for the principle of the bill. However, I have 2 serious reservations. This will be used to provide demountable accommodation on Crown land, accommodation other than that which we used to regard as residential accommodation, which is a permanent dwelling. Because of this and understanding the need for such legislation, I think it vital for the legislation to have an expiry date. I foreshadow an amendment which will link this to the life of the Darwin Reconstruction Commission; that is, at the end of five years this legislation will cease to have effect. DEBATES-Wednesday 20 August 1975 It would be dangerous, because of an emergency which has arisen in Darwin in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy, to continue to pass legislation relating to that specific trauma in our lives and making it continuing legislation when it is only put forward and passed to serve a specific purpose. This is such a case. I agree with the honourable member for Gillen when he said that, because it pertains to a particular situation, the legislation should be specific and relate only to the area of the Northern Territory serviced by the Darwin Reconstruction Act. My argument in support of his is logical and is a natural progression. It should be related to that area and to the same time span. The second amendment which I hope to introduce will have more substance and may meet with more debate, not necessarily opposition. It certainly merits better debate than can be afforded by presentation and passage on the same day. The proposed amendment would be that, for the purpose of placing demountable units on Crown land, the Darwin Reconstruction Commission should cause to be published their intent as to which specific parcels of land are proposed and that a date of perhaps 14 days be allowed for objections. The objections should be considered by the commission which will then go ahead with the proposal, reject it or amend it. I have said 14 days because I think it is vital to have public opinion noted and considered. I would not wish to hold up the provision of accommodation unnecessarily. Fourteen days is neither here nor there, but it is a very basic right which I am seeking to have continued in this legislation, that the people who are going to affected, the residents of the area-and by residents of the area I include all people affected under the Darwin Reconstruction Act-shall have a right to express an opinion when they disagree with the provision of accommodation on Crown land which may affect them one way or another and which may have most undesirable consequences. Only 14 days is envisaged but the commission should have to take notice and consider the objections. One would hope, if they reject the objections, they would be required to give some reason for rejection. They may amend their original proposal; it may be that it meets with no objection and it goes ahead. In that case, no member of the community can complain later that they did not have the right to object.
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