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
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 11 November 1986 I will concentrate on some of the issues that relate specifically to the people within the East Alligator River region. I remember when the Fox Inquiry was established to look at the Alligator Rivers region and to seek the views of the local people about the mining of uranium. I remember people who were alive then who have since died because of the pressure they were subjected to from day I, when uranium mines were actually established and exploration was allowed to occur. I am very much aware that there are people there who are concerned about the financial rewards of mining in the area. I am aware also that they are environmentally conscious because, if we allow all mines to go ahead within the area, they will have nothing for their children or their children's children to live for and believe in. The area was only given back to those people within the last 10 years. They were successful in claiming both stage 1 and stage 2 of Kakadu National Park and 1 of the main arguments that the land council put forward to the then Fraser government was that the park would act as a buffer and protect the interests of Aboriginal people in the area. I believe the park is doing that very well. I commend the ANPWS for doing the job that it has been asked to do. It is employing Aboriginal people to participate in park management and to show the world and especially people in the Northern Territory the cultural aspects of the park. I do not agree with the Chief Minister's motion. Like the member for Arafura, I represent some of the views of the people who live in the area. The Deputy Chief Minister says that Bill Neidjie and people in the Jabi1uka Pancontinenta1 area have expressed the view that mining should go ahead. I am very conscious of the environment. I have toured the area with the Sessional Committee on the Environment. I used to get out there very often during my days with the land council. Time and time again, I have heard those people express the values that the area holds for their people. From our perspective, that is culturally important. When we look at areas like U1uru, we see the same values being emphasised by the people who live there. If stage 2 or 3 of the proposed national park, including Gimbat and Goodpar1a, are opened to mining, what future is there for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, especially the people who claim traditional rights in the area? Quite honestly, it would be an embarrassment for the Northern Territory, especially this government which wants to get out there and mine as much as it can. The Deputy Chief Minister says he has 20 mining companies ready to go in there. Taking into account what the federal government has done, going right back to the Fraser government which took the cultural values of the park into account, it would be a sorry day if the park were totally opened for mining. I repeat what the member for Arafura said. The area is beautiful in its own right as a park and as a breeding ground for waterfowl. Also, it is an area of cultural importance to my people. I commend the amendment moved by the member for Arafura. Mr D.W. COLLINS (Sadadeen): Mr Speaker, it seems to me that a fallacy has been put forward and elaborated on this morning, particularly by the member for Arafura: that the only way we can protect Kakadu stage 2 is to put it on the World Heritage List. That would mean that it would be closed to all uses except as a national park for tourists to visit. I suspect that it would not be too long before the greenies of this country would be saying: 'The numbers of tourists will have to be limited because they could act like buffalo and destroy the park'. The area would be locked up tight for all time. 766
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