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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 saying that, not only does the Kakadu National Park stage 2 meet some of those criteria, it meets all of those criteria. In terms of World Heritage areas, that is most unusual. It is most unusual to find any proposed park fitting all 12 criteri a. In this debate, it is incumbent upon the government to disprove that Kakadu stage 2 meets either all or any of those 12 criteria. It has provided no evidence whatsoever that that is the case. It has given itself the vehicle to do so through the motion yet it has provided the members of this Legislative Assembly, who have a responsibility for good government in the Northern Territory, with no evidence at all to back up its assertion in the first paragraph that stage 2 of Kakadu National Park does not meet the stringent criteria adopted by UNESCO. Thanks to the member for Arafura, we know what those stringent criteria are - at least, we are 1 step ahead. We have heard no evidence from the other side that demonstrates that Kakadu stage 2 does not meet those stringent criteria. Our amendment provides members with the opportunity to think about it and to come back with some evidence to show to the people of the Northern Territory. We would be in a position then to have an informed debate on the matter. No one shies away from the fact that this is a very important matter. We would be able to have an informed debate on it rather than this very blatant and obvious attempt to score political points. Of course, it appears that the government members opposite are not interested in an informed debate on the matter. They do not care if they look silly in here or if they look silly when they go to Paris. They think there is some political advantage in it for them~ I think they may find that they are wrong. Every time the government opens its mouth on Kakadu, it diminishes the tourist value of the park. We have had considerable publicity through Crocodile Dundee in the last 12 months, both here and in the United States of America and shortly shall have more in Europe. The Tourist Commission is spending large amounts of money to encourage people, both in Australia and overseas, to come to Kakadu. Great free publicity was given to the park last week as a consequence of the visit of the Prime Minister, yet every time a member of this government opens his mouth he sets out consciously to diminish the tourist value of the park. Mr Speaker, do you remember the comments on Kakadu National Park? There are only 100 barbecue plates in the 'park. We know now that it is the best-funded park in the whole of Australia and that $8m is being spent on it this year. $4.5m is being spent on capital works in the park. The Minister for Conservation will find out about that when he goes out on his official tour of inspection. Al~o, he should speak to the Ministers for Conservation in the states and obtain their reaction to funding for Kakadu. It is the best-funded national park in Australia. Do we hear any comment, any congratulations, any recognition of that from the members opposite? No, we do not. All we hear about is 100 barbecue plates. Mr Speaker, I can assure you that there is much more out there than 100 barbecue plates. The other problem with this argument is that, if we are to compete for tourists on the world market, it is essential that we obtain, and keep, World Heritage listing for this major national park. It is a great selling point. There are probably 2 major selling points for this great national park overseas. One is that it is a World Heritage area and the other that it is an area where people can see 40 000 years of Aboriginal culture. It can be seen not only in a static form but in the form of Aboriginal people actually living there at present. These are the great selling points for this national park. 779