Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)


Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987




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 - Tuesday 11 November 1986 Mr B. COLLINS: I beg your pardon? Mr SPEAKER: . If my hearing is correct, the member for Arafura used the words 'pig ignorance'. 1 ask him to withdraw those remarks. Mr B. COLLINS: Mr Speakeri I unreservedly withdraw those remarks. The total, collective, absolute and categorical ignorance of the government is exemplified in the major basis of the motion before us, and I ask all honourable members to consider it. The basis of this motion is contained in the first paragraph: that all members of this Assembly state that 'stage 2 of Kakadu National Park does not meet the stringent criteria adopted by UNESCO for the inscription of areas on the World Heritage List'. When I saw the motion this morning, I did a quick run around the members of the opposition. I would have obtained exactly the same result if I had run around to all members in this Assembly, particularly the Minister for Conservation and the Chief Minister, and asked them simply to list for me, and to demonstrate their familiarity with, the criteria for World Heritage listing. Apart from the scripts with which, no doubt, some ministers have been provided, I have no doubt that, until this morning, none of them would have been familiar with any of the criteria. What the government is asking this Assembly to do relates to a matter on which there is universal agreement in this country. It is a matter of great national significance, whether members want to agree with it or otherwise. I refer to the inscription of stage 2 of Kakadu on the World Heritage Li.st. I have no doubt that all members of this Assembly have never examined the criteria for World Heritage listing and have never examined the details of whether stage 2of KakaduNational Park meets those criteria or not. The government expects uS to make a t6tally ignorant and ill-informed decision in the Assembly this morning on this matter of world importance. There could not be a better example of this government's complete unfitness to manage the park. Mr Speaker, as all members of this Assembly are committed to the oath that we swear when we come in here - to uphold the good government of the Northern Territory - there should be at least a pretence of allowing honourable members of this Assembly time to examine the evidence on which the government wants us to throw out unilaterally this application for listing on the World Heritage List allegedly on the failure of stage 2 to meet the criteria. It is a fact, and everyone inside and outside of this Assembly knows it, that there would be scarcely a member of the Legislative Assembly who would be even basically familiar with those criteria or would have any detailed personal knowledge of whether the park matches up to those criteria. I have had a very long involvement with Kakadu National Park. Without the slightest doubt, over the last 18 years, I have traversed every inch of it. For 2 years, I was employed in Kakadu National Park, researching buffalo on behalf of the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry as it then was. Subsequ~ntly, I spent 3 years in the national park working for CSIRO researching buffalo specifically and also compiling information on the flora of the region. Subsequently, I had the great privilege and joy of having Kakadu National Park contained within my electorate for the last 10 years. Both as a politician and as a researcher, my involvement in Kakadu National Park has been e~tensive. The reason I make those points is that, only rarely, have I spotted any member of this Assembly in Kakadu National Park carrying out a detailed inspection. I am reliably informed that the relevant and responsible minister has never been to Kakad~ National Park in an official capacity as minister. 755

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