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 and economic grounds. Unfortunately for the mining companies, we are not concerned that this necessarily means adopting techniques which will be most expensive. I have long contended that, and I have said this before in this Assembly" if a mining operation cannot be economically viable under the most stringent of environmental restrictions, it should not be allowed to operate. Today's techniques allow a mining operation to be confined to a limited area and the mine site to be rehabilitated when mining is completed. Ranger and Nabarlek, for instance, represent only 0.02% and 0.013% respectively of Kakadu and the Gimbat and Goodparla leases combined. The rate with which Mr Hawke is attempting to push for World Heritage listing of Kakadu gives off an odour of the most offensive kind of political expediency. In dealing with this ancient and timeless land, why must a government, a group of mere mortals, whose individual lives on the face of this earth are nothing when compared with the age of land itself, take it upon themselves to rush into a decision to gain cheap political points and the hope of another term in office? Wasn't it Mr Hawke who promised to lead Australia out of the jungle of political confrontation into a brave new world of consensus and consultation? There has been no consultation on the issue of World Heritage listing for stage 2 of Kakadu. I have been asked why I have not been out to Kakadu. The federal government does not even talk to us about Kakadu; it did not come to us and ask about Kakadu. I am the Minister for Conservation yet it did not come and talk to me about it. Mr Ede: You don't know where Kakadu is. Mr McCARTHY: They probably talked to you. There has been absolutely no consultation on this issue of World Heritage listing for stage 2 of Kakadu. The decision was a unilateral one that was reached thousands of kilometres from Kakadu. In a letter to the Territory Chamber of Mines on 29 August of this year, Gareth Evans said: 'It would be premature to pursue the World Heritage listing of Kakadu stage 2 until related questions about mineral activity in the Kakadu region have been addressed by the Commonwealth. Additionally, I consider that the issue of whether or not to seek a listing should be settled with the benefit of consultations with the NT government'. There has been no consultation with the Territory government and that is why I call on members of this Assembly to support this motion. There must be consultations under the provisions of the 1984 meeting of Commonwealth State and Territory Conservation Ministers on World Heritage procedures. Members opposite will no doubt remember only too well what happened to the last Labor government which decided to rule without the benefit of consultation. The country was rent asunder and, 11 years ago to this day, that same government came undone. I urge members to support the Territory, to support Australia and to support this motion and put the opposition amendment where it belongs. The member for Arafura said earlier that the magpie geese population was suffering at the hands of miners. Mr' B. Collins: That is not what I said. Mr McCARTHY: would like to assure him, and all honourable members that our magpie geese population is doing very well. It is surviving well on Tortilla rice. The Conservation Commission has undertaken studies to protect the breeding grounds of magpie geese. They are in no danger at all of being wiped out in the Northern Territory. Mr Speaker, you will never see a magpie 776