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 Territory government, does not know where the boundaries of the park are. The other speaker does not know where the boundaries of the park are. If that is the level of knowledge that the government has on this proposal for Kakadu National Park, obviously it is time that its members took a few steps back and had another look at the whole proposal because they will make absolute and total fools of themselves if they continue in the way they have gone today. Deliberately, I have waited until this stage to speak because I wish to ask where in this whole debate is the honourable Minister for Conservation? Talk about silent Sam! This debate has been under way for months. I have yet to hear that the minister has put out a press release or that he has visited the park. Either he is extremely embarrassed or he is still working up his proposal for a flying fox industry that we heard about some time back. I hope it is the former rather than the latter but, nO doubt, we shall find out when he leaps to his feet and tells us how he is defending conservation principles in the Northern Territory. I have been waiting for some time to hear of the minister's visit to the Kakadu Park. To the best of my knowledge, he also has not been to the p"ark or, at least, not since he became the Minister for Conservation. However, I hope that he is able somehow to show himself as slightly more knowledgeable on these issues than the speakers we have heard so far. The Chief Minister referred to Rememberance Day and said that his motion was what Australia was all about. Is that really the case, Mr Speaker? This government has lifted the reservations from mining of the whole park, not just over stage 3. It lifted the reservations from mining of stage 1 and stage 2 as well. It lifted the reservations from the escarpment, Obiri, Nourlangie and the Magela wetlands. The Minister for Mines and Energy went, like the Pied Piper, down MacquarieStreet whistling up companies to come and lodge ELAs over areas in the park. Is that what Australia is about? That is what this government is about. I do not believe that that is what Australia is about, nor do I believe that that is what Territorians ~re about. The Minister for Mines and Energy said he could have 20 companies lined up in a week. Mr Speaker, you can imagine it: all the bulldozers, engines running, lined up to charge like the great Oklahoma land grab. I believe that the vast majority of Territorians, those who love the land and who are not up here simply to rip the place apart, are justly very proud of Kakadu. They are proud of its antiquity, its beauty, its cultural richness, its uniqueness, its wealth of flora and fauna, and the rare and endangered species that are in the park. At every opportunity, this government has done nothing but denigrate the beauty, uniqueness and wonder of Kakadu. As the honourable member for Arafura said, it is no wonder that their federal counterparts happily are not quite so ready to talk about tearing the place to pieces, but is it any wonder that this government is referred to in many quarters as a bunch of clowns and cowboys? I have to concede that parts of Kakadu would never have become clapped-out buffalo country if the Northern Territory government had been in control. It is obvious why. I would like to relate a joke that is doing the rounds in Darwin at the moment. It is not a bad one. The question goes: 'Why would there be no buffalo damage in Kakadu if it were controlled by the Northern Territory government?' The answer is, of course: 'Because they would have lost all the buffalo'. There is no chance of Annaburroo becoming clapped-out buffalo country. The government is made up of a very strange group of people. They subsidise the profits of tourist operators in Darwin and they ensure they will 770