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 misleading, and I do not think that the Chief Minister would have done that knowingly. In fact,I am sure he would not have. On Wednesday 10 June, the Chief Minister indicated that he had undertaken to make inquiries on my behalf in relation to my query as to why Knocker Bay, which I regard as a superior anchorage in that part of Port Essington, was not designated instead of Victoria Settlement as a place giving fishermen access to the shore. He said, quite rightly, that when setting up a plan of management, to which he referred this morning, it is necessary to specify limited access to enable that proper management. He said the areas specified within the legislation were chosen on 3 main criteria: firstly, that they be traditionally and historically safe anchorages which will be protected from severe storms; secondly, that they enable the beaching of shallow draft craft for temporary repairs; and, thirdly, that they have good access to fresh wateu surface wells and soaks. I will deal with those 3 points before we go on to the lease which exists in the Knocker Bay area. Firstly, if he had asked a mariner rather than the person to whom he spoke previously, I am pretty sure he would have been advised that the anchorage at Knocker Bay in heavy weather is indeed superior to that at the Victoria Settlement because of prevailing winds. It is a far safer anchorage in unsafe conditions for small craft and that is what we were talking about. The second criterion was to enable the beaching of shallow draft craft for temporary repairs. The Knocker Bay anchorage is ideal for that particular necessity. Victoria Settlement and Knocker Bay have similar approaches but there is absolutely no reason to suggest that the Knocker Bay anchorage would be any less advantageous to people who needed to put in for temporary repairs. The third criterion, and this has to be a serious one, was good access to fresh water, surface wells and soaks. The fresh water exists at Knocker Bay but it does not exist at Victoria Settlement. I want the Chief Minister to understand that I am not pursuing this subject for any other reason than my extreme concern for the ruins at Victoria Settlement and my extreme concern that, given a set of conditions, fishermen and mariners should have the best possible anchorage for the reasons that he explained: temporary repairs, safety from storms and access to fresh water. Those 3 criteria are better met at Knocker Bay than at Victoria Settlement. The Chief Minister quite rightly pointed out that there exists over the Knocker Bay area a pearl farming lease. That lease is not being used at the moment. It is abandoned and the peal farming project is continuing on a different part of the coast not very far away. The Knocker Bay area is no longer being used for a pearl culture project. All I am asking, obviously, is that the Chief Minister reconsider the whole question with an open mind. If these facts are not enough to persuade him to have a fresh look, and I speak from first-hand knowledge, may I say that the state of the derelict buildings and the beach at Knocker Bay brings little credit on the company responsible. They have walked away and left rusting iron protuberances everywhere. It is not a sight for sore eyes; it is a fair disgrace. People sail past and may, of necessity put in to that area at times. It has to be cleaned up and made safe even for people to walk ashore if the need arises. I am very unhappy at the way in which the site has been left with rusting gear and no care at all for the aesthetics of the area. For the Chief Minister's perusal and for the perusal of any other member who is interested in what I have had to say, I have photographs of the Knocker Bay area to show more graphically than my words can portray what needs to be done to clean it up and make it a reasonable site. I asked the Chief Minister this morning if the government had considered resumption of that lease area for use as a safe anchorage having regard to the 1330

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