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 I support the Chief Minister's motion that the federal government should withdraw its nomination. I would not be so worried if the Commonwealth government had done what the world conservation meeting in 1980 suggested in its resolution on multiple use and methods for listing land on the World Heritage List. It suggested that governments consult with the provincial government and the owners of the land to try to obtain their agreement. Unfortunately, our friends in Canberra have ignored that recommendation. The world conservation resolution is that disagreements should be put to the UNESCO group. I am not so worried if the federal government does not withdraw the nomination, provided that it abides by the rules. I believe that the UNESCO people should inspect the area. I understand that, on occasions, they have not bothered to look at an area and that is what the member for Arafura has said about us. Of course, many of us have flown over the area and also have inspected it on the ground. If the UNESCO people inspected the area, I have no doubt that they would say that the vast majority of Kakadu stage 2 did not meet the criteria which have been set down for World Heritage listing. The second part of the Chief Minister's motion relates to the Gimbat and Goodparla pastoral leases. Obviously, these are very significant national assets and they deserve the support of all Australians. I deplore the misinformation campaign that resulted from the Prime Minister's visit to Kakadu in the last few days. There were photographs of all those significant Aboriginal sites that must be taken into account in the multiple use of the park area. but there were few photographs of the savannah country. The photographs were of the escarpment areas and other areas that we have always said must be protected. The Gimbat and Goodparla leases do not meet those criteria by a long shot. The people of Australia need to be given a clear picture of the nature of Kakadu stages 1 and 2 and the proposed stage 3. It is very easy to pull the wool over the eyes of millions of Australians by not giving them the full story. Again. it is refreshing to see that the federal government has indicated that it will allow exploration and then mining. no doubt taking into account the Aboriginal people's wishes and concerns. which is only just and right, in the Gimbat and Goodparla leases. But. it has not said that it will allow it over the whole area. We need the wealth that the Territory can generate for all of Australia and this area would help provide that. However, there are those in the federal government who, to appease the greenies, the left wing of the Labor Party, the support base which is running away from them, are prepared to lock this away forever and a day. I must confess that I was heartened by one of the federal ministers - I think it might have been Mr Cohen. but I will not swear to that - who was reported as saying that another government could renege on the World Heritage listing. I do not believe stage 2 of Kakadu will have World Heritage listing if the process is carried out fairly. Secondly, if it is not carried out fairly. there would be no moral obligation on a Howard-led coalition government to obey those particular rules. I hope that Australia will be saved from the embarrassment of trying to list this vastly boring savannah country on the World Heritage List because we will be the laughing stock of the world if we do. Mr EDE (Stuart): Mr Speaker, if ever there was a justification for the amendment proposed by the member for Arafura, it is in the very words of the member for Sadadeen, the Chairman of the Sessional Committee on the Environment of this Assembly. He has been on that committee for years and years. He said twice in this debate that his membership of the committee had put him in a very good position to know a great deal about these matters in so far as they related to the ecology of the area, and the excellent way that Nabarlek has looked after the national park. He stated twice 768