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 battle continued and there was always going to be something done about it. I will not go too far back into history because I do not have the time to go through all the years of arguments. The first item I had on my file in January 1985 was a letter from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. I was despairing of support from the then Minister for Community Development. At that stage, there had been a changeover in the ministry. The then Minister for Education had been replaced by the then Treasurer. The answer from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs was, once again, not particularly'helpful. It told me what I already knew: that the chances of finding a potable water supply appeared poor and that, since it was 2 years since the groundwater survey had been carried out, the department was proposing that the Water Division of the Department of Transport and Works carry out a further survey. I knew that would do very little good. However, instead of spending the money on the Mexican dam I had originally proposed, they decided to carry out 1 more ground water survey. I have a letter from Mr Robertson, the then Minister for Health, stating that he had raised the matter .of health problems associated with the lack of water in the Anningie area and would hopefully do something about it. I then wrote to the current Treasurer, then Minister for Community Development, advising that the diaphragm pumps, which had been connected, were continuously breaking down and were completely inadequate. The Minister for Community Development wrote back setting out 3 different options. The first was provision of de-salination equipment. The second was the reticulation of potable water from the nearest known supply which the department said was a some 25 km away. ~~n fact, the distance is 7 km, but we all know that this department takes theJ()ng way around. The third was to use some other means of obtaining water from Anningie Creek. I hoped that the Department of Community Development would take up my proposal of a Mexican dam. However, by 13 January 1986, I was a bit worried. I became more specific and wrote again to the minister protesting once more about the Anningie water supply, advising that the Anningie community, which is an excision on Anningie Station, had very poor groundwater potential and that I had put forward the Mexican dam proposal 7 years before and it was still the best option. I pointed out the problems with the inefficient and unreliable diaphragm pumps that were always breaking down. I stated that a better option was to connect solar pumps to an overhead tank which would provide good quality water. There was also potential for using groundwater for washing and horticulture. Mr Dale: Horticulture? Mr EDE: The minister laughs at the idea of horticulture. Communities in my electorate carry out a fair range of horticultural activities. It was disappointing that, in answer to a question regarding the potential of alternatives to cattle in central Australia, the minister did not address himself to the significant amount of horticultural activity which, as you would know, Mr Speaker, is carried out by communities in central Australia who are striving for a form of self-sufficiency. It is something that I hope the minister might address himself to. To return to the story,of my correspondence with the minister, I had the answer in February. It ~was stated that consideration had been given to supplying non-potable water for showers but there was no guarantee that people would not drink the water which might have harmful results. If that is not paternalism, I do not know what is. Additionally, advice was received 879