Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (24 November 1981)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (24 November 1981)


Debates for 3rd Assembly 1980 - 1983; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 3rd Assembly 1980 - 1983




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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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~ ; 11 1:'1 1'1.1 I I: r DEBATES Thursday 26 November 1981 Early in the joint ministerial meetings about these matters, when the first lengthy Northern Territory submipsion was put forward, it was made clear by the Commonwealth that there were areas of concern which the Northern Territory government would have to deal with itself if it wanted change, and this was well known to all participants. It has now become evident that this course of action is necessary and for this reason I seek the passage of these bills through the Assembly. The areas of immediate concern are in respect of the preservation of stock routes, stock quarantine reserves and stock watering points, the reasonable passage of travelling stock when those routes exist, entry onto Aboriginal land for the legitimate recovery of stock, the repair of common fences, the control of stock diseases and for the fighting of bushfires. It should be noted that the Commonwealth has ensured in the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act that claims cannot be made to Crown land that has been set apart for, or dedicated to, a public purpose under a Commonwealth act, but has deliberately excluded from such protection land set aside for a public purpose in the Crown in right of the Northern Territory. In a somewhat similar position is that land which has been given a status which recognises the need to make provision for the passage of travelling stock. This includes all those stock routes which have not remained part of a pastoral lease and, therefore, can be considered to be unalienated Crown land. It also includes land set aside for stock quarantine purposes and places at risk government-owned stock watering points, bores provided with mills, engines, pumps, tanks, trougps and orphan yards and dips. This raises what is considered by the Northern Territory government to be a serious deficiency in the operation of the Land Rights Act. Land vested in the Crown in right of the Northern Territory for such purposes should remain reserved for those purposes and should not be compulsorily acquired for other purposes without. the Crown's consent. There is no rationale for the difference in status between land reserved for such purposes under Commonwealth legislation and land reserved under Northern Territory legislation. The Crown, in each case, is in the best position to determine the future needs of those reserved areas. It has been argued in the hearings of land claims that the methods used these days for the movement of cattle, by motor transport rather than by overlanding, obviate the need for these facilities. Whilst the methods of .stock movement have changed over the past 20 years, the recent hike in fuel costs may well see a greater use of overlanding, especially over shorter distances, Mr,Speaker, and who would know better about that than yourself. The Northern Territory government is placed in an untenable position if these facilities are put at risk. It is inhibited in developing sound policies for the growth and protection of one of the Territory's most vital industries. The most serious aspect is the reduction of its ability to deal with threats of outbreaks of disease or to take preventative action with respect to these. It is relevant to note that Mr Rowland said in respect of this matter: 'It would seem to me'to be fairly disruptive to allow land claims over these areas. This is a problem to be decided by the Northern Territory in consultation with the Commonwealth'. The Northern Territory government considers that, as with land set aside for public purposes, there should be no ability to eliminate stock routes, stock quarantine areas or stock watering points except by its own deliberate decision. While Mr Justice Woodward in his 1974 report did not clearly indicate what he thought would happen to stock routes, quarantine reserves and other public purpose areas, he did make comments which, in my view, indicated that land for which there was a planned use should not be subject to the freeze and therefore should be retained, if necessary, for the planned use. It is reasonable to 1681

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