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 Chief Minister being the only exception - who have spoken in this debate have shown an appalling grasp of what the topic is about and have not even shown a familiarity with some of the basic concepts of Kakadu National Park. I will go through them again because it is very important. The Chairman of the Sessional Committee on the Environment proudly demonstrated his ignorance on2 or 3 separate occasions and said that Nabarlek was inside Kakadu National Park. We all know that Nabarlek is 40 km outside the national park and that, in fact, it is in Arnhem Land. The Minister for Mines and Energy - the Northern Territory's answer to the Dodgy brothers - said that he did not know where the park boundaries were either. He was exceptionally confused about the park boundaries. I would suggest quite seriously to the Northern Territory government that, if it is going to Paris with a serious intent, it should leave the Minister for Mines and Energy behind because, if he puts on a performance over there like he put on' in this Assembly today, he will do the Northern Territory case more damage than good. Rarely have I seen such a disgraceful performance. Then, we had the Minister for Conservation writing his speech over the lunch brea~ and still getting it wrong. He said that Ranger and Nabarlek represent only 0.02% and 0.013% respectively of Kakadu and the Gimbat and Goodparla leases. We know that Nabarlek is nowhere near Kakadu. It is 40 km away unless, by an administrative sleight of hand yet to be announced in the Government Gazette, it has been shifted in the way that the Northern Territory government attempted to shift Ayers Rock in debate 2 or 3 years ago. We have heard 3 speakers from that side of the Assembly who were unable to get the basic facts right. The worst example was the Minister for Conservation who, by the very nature of his portfolio, ought to have an interest in and a concern for conservation of the Northern Territory. He does not even know what the criteria are for World Heritage listing. He said that there were 4. In fact, there are 12 criteria. There are 4 under the heading of 'natural property', which he outlined, and another 8 under the heading of 'cultural property' which he forgot or did not know about. Mr B. Collins: He denied that they existed. Mr SMITH: As the member for Arafura says, he denied that they existed. By doing so, he wiped out 40 000 years of Aboriginal culture as being of no significance and of no importance in this debate. 40 000 years of Aboriginal culture just went by the board as the result of the ignorance of the man who has the official administrative responsibility in the Northern Territory government for conservation measures, for parks and for the place of people who live and whose history lies in those park areas. That is of no concern to the Minister for Conservation, but I bet it is of enormous embarrassment to his Chief Minister and I bet it is of enormous embarrassment to his department and the, Tourist Commission. If one took the Minister for Conservation literally, the Tourist Commission, would have to rewrite its publicity and take out any recognition of Aborigines in Kakadu. Mr Speaker, the 3 speakers on the government side are the best adverti sement that we coul d have for the, amendment proposed by the member for Arafura. It is clear that the honourable members do not know the UNESCO requirements for World Heritage listing. It is clear that the government has not made an objective assessment of whether the Kakadu area does fit within the 12 criteria for World Heritage listing. The Commonwealth government is 778