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





Publisher name

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Tuesday 11 November 1986 Professor Mellanby is with us once again. He was with us, I remember, a few years ago. He is certainly better qualified than is Harry Butler to speak on environmental issues. He is a proponent of a scheme which is highly relevant to his own country, Great Britain: the regional park proposal. We have been through the complete irrelevance of such an approach to Australia. Professor Mellanby's idea of a national park is to have a nature strip down the middle of Bagot Road, where there are little patches of green grass with birds nailed to trees and lizards hiding under rocks: the Harry Butler type of Walt Disney national park which is totally irrelevant to Australia and particularly so to the Northern Territory. Because of our 200 scant years of . European settlement, we have an opportunity unique among developed countries to preserve some of out most magnificent heritage intact. Harry Butler has supported the mining of bauxite in the jarrah forests of Western Australia, the construction of the Franklin Dam, and everything else his employers have paid him to support. If people like him could have had their way during the last 200 years, this would be an academic debate indeed, because there would be no national park left to preserve. I want to address myself to an ignorant catchcry of some of our federal colleagues as well as members here. This is the so-called 'clapped out buffalo country' which comprises the majority of stage 3, in fact, rather than stage 2. I too have a little story about buffalo. The very reason why the area needs protection, as the CSIRO will confirm, is that this so-called 'clapped out' country, the woodland, is the most important resource in terms of acting as a generator for Kakadu. The woodland contains the majority of both the plant and animal species that exist in the park. Indeed, those large expanses of country which the government members would have us write off as irrelevant, the sedgelands and wetlands, act as the absolutely essential dry season refuge for the magnificent colonies of water birds which are enjoyed by the 130 000 visitors who come to Kakadu National Park every year, and that number is increasing rapidly. It is ignorance of the most profound kind simply to say that we can create a national park, as the Deputy Chief Minister wants to do, and put in 20 mining companies. He says that he has,them in a queue waiting to move into all stages of the park, a measure in which his own federal colleagues clearly will not support him. It is the Professor Mellanby approach to parks: put little fences around the sacred sites, put a little fence around Jim Jim and have mines everywhere else. It would rapidly become a travesty of a national park if we tried to do something like that. We have an opportunity in the Northern Territory to do something that people elsewhere do not have. Forgetting about the environment for a minute, weare using it as the foundation stone for our most rapidly-growing industry, tourism. Tourism will be the cornerstone of the Northern Territory's development in the foreseeable future. The government is trying to degrade the very resource that we will use as a basis for that development. Indeed, I refer again to the former Chief Minister who said that there is no question that Kakadu and Uluru will be the basis of the future health of our tourist industry. Mr Speaker, it is obvious that members opposite rarely tal k to the tourists - and they could have come out on the trip just recently - who are still coming to Cooinda and the South Alligator River in large numbers because of the improved works that theANPWS has undertaken in Kakadu in order to make wet season areas accyssible now. Nature trails, public toilets and other facilities have been t!stablished there. A public boat ramp is being 759