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 parks, including Kakadu, was nowhere better put than in an address to the Senate Estimates Committee in September this year. Allow me to quote from Hansard of that day, less than 2 months ago: Subject to appropriate protection, there ought to be no intrinsic, rational reason why a multiple land use regime should not be established for national parks which already accommodate a variety of different land uses anyway, such as tourism and so on, and in some cases agriculture. Therefore, there ought to be in principle no objection to a wider-ranging multiple land use regime. Mr Speaker, what has occurred in the 7 weeks since that statement was made by the good senator to send Mr Hawke scurrying north to Kakadu to tell Australians that Kakadu stage 2 should be placed on the World Heritage List, without further delay, in a bid to protect its virtue? People like the Prime Minister would have all Australians believe that the beauty of Kakadu is unspoiled, pristine. What rot! What has happened during those 7 weeks .. is that the man once known as Mr 78% has realised that people do not believe in him any more. The popularity of Australia's political messiah has dropped in recent weeks at a faster rate than has the Australian dollar. In a bid to inflate the value of his electoral image and his standing, he will be forced to try to buy back the greenie vote. Bob Hawke is not fair dinkum because he knows, as do the members opposite, I am sure, and as Senator Evans clearly realises, that Kakadu should not be locked away and left untouched for all time. Tourism, mining and conservation can coexist in Kakadu provided the proper precautions are observed. The area we are talking about is huge. Kakadu stages 1 and 2, along with the Gimbat and Goodparla leases, cover about 20 000 km2, about a third of the area of Tasmania and, as has been said before, the size of Israel. The Territory government has demonstrated clearly that it is in favour of conservation. We argued to have stage 1 of this national treasure placed on the World Heritage List. We realise there are areas in stage 2 that should not be touched because they are far too special,far too delicate. That is what multiple use is all about: leaving undisturbed the special areas while carefully using other areas within park boundaries. Kakadu National Park is not 13 000 km2 of unique, virgin country, as some would have us believe. Both stage 20f Kakadu and the 6700 km2 that make up Gimbat and Goodparla, which protectionists would have locked away also, have a huge percentage of what Mr Justice Fox described, during his Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry, as land 'somewhat monotonous scenically'. Justice Fox went on to add: 'Most parts are undulating a~d there are low hills and ridges'. It is inspiring, isn't it? Great stuff. Those of us who nave taken time to visit the park would probably have an even less charitable description than that. For the benefit of the member for Arafura, I have visited Kakadu National Park many times over the years, though not as minister because it has been taken out of my control. It belongs to the federal government and is in the control of the federal minister. The policy of that government, and I have copies here, is that Kakadu should remain with the federal government forever. As I have no doubt the member for Arafura is aware, some weeks ago, I spoke to Dan Gillespie and made arrangements with him to visit Kakadu National Park in December. The honourable member went out with Dan Gillespie last week and Dan said: 'McCarthy is coming out here in a couple of weeks'. He said: 'Get on to the media and make a big thing so that, when he goes out, it looks like I made him do it'. That is how shallow the man is. 773