Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (19 August 1981)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (19 August 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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DEBATES - Wednesday 19 August 1981 consult the stock disease legislation; we have to consult legislation on brands, exotic diseases, and stock routes and travelling stock. That brings me to another query. Possibly I am being very exact but I feel that legislation should be as exact as we can make it. The definition of 'horse' includes an ass, mule or a hinny. Now I cannot for the life of me understand why 'ass, mule or hinny' was not included in the general definition of 'animal': 'a horse, bovine animal or buffalo ... '. I assume that inclusion is because horses, bovine animals and buffaloes are domesticated. However, as mules and hinnies are also domesticated these days, they are not necessarily feral animals only. Mr Speaker, the change in name of the legislation is quite significant. The main legislation before this was the Foot and Mouth Disease Compensation Act. The legislation before us is called the ExoticDiseases (Animals) Compensation Bill. The enlargement is from foot and mouth disease only to include other exotic diseases which affect other animals, including poultry, dogs and pigs. I think the importance of this legislation to the Northern Territory is much greater than many people realise because Darwin could be a very important entry port for diseases into Australia. Also, our coastline is relatively unattended and rather large. It would be relatively easy for these exotic diseases to enter into Australia. It is more by good fortune than anything else that these diseases have not entered Australia and it would be a terrible and absolutely horrific situation if any disease like foot and mouth, rabies or Newcastle disease entered Australia. Foot and mouth would kill our cattle industry; there would have to be an absolute eradication of all cattle and all bovines within a very large area. If rabies entered the country, there would have to be eradication of all dogs. If Newcastle disease entered the country, there would have to be an eradication of all poultry. These programs would be required not only to control and eradicate the disease among domestic stock but also because we have a large animal and bird population both feral and native. If these diseases were not controlled, they would infect our feral and native animals. Because of the vast area in which these animals live, it would be impossible to control the diseases. I hope that the owners of stock that is destroyed receive adequate compensation. I feel that adequate compensation has to be more than the actual words 'adequate compensation' if the government and the authori.ties want the cooperation of the owners in reporting outbreaks of disease. For example, if prices for cattle come down and there is an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, even considering the fines they may attract, the property owners - particularly on exclusive pastoral leases - may not consider it worth their while to report the disease because, as a result of the market price, they will not receive adequate compensation. I would like to suggest to the minister that adequate compensation, and perhaps more than adequate compensation in some cases, must be considered. Also compensation for animals destroyed because they have contracted exotic diseases must be prompt. It is no good letting someone hang on and on. Part of the eradication program is complete destruction of all breeding stock and all the fixtures and fittings that are associated with the breeding stock. The owner of that property will be without an income until he can buy more breeding stock and, if his property has been completely destocked and his buildings destroyed, he will be very impecunious. It is very important from his point of view that he receive prompt compensation. If an unfortunate situation like eradication due to an outbreak of exotic disease occurs, it is very important that the public relations section of the Department of Primary Production be active and spot-on in dealing with the situation. An offer of help in situations like this is much more important than stressing to the owner of the property the punitive measures that must be taken. 1282

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