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





Publisher name

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Tuesday 11 November 1986 channels. Let it be investigated properly. But this federal government has political debts to pay. That is what it is trying to do and we are going to fight it, because we seriously believe that it will devalue the currency of World Heritage listing. For the benefit of the Leader of the Opposition, the federal government is devaluing World Heritage listing and, on a subsequent investigation, that more than anything else could threaten the World Heritage listing of stage 1. We do not want to risk that because stage 1 is of particular importance to the Northern Territory. It is particularly important environmentally and it is particularly important for the tourist industry, as opposition members have quite adequately pointed out. In my speech, I referred to the environmental impact of Ranger. The member for Stuart and others on the opposition benches made great play of the fact that Ranger is not within Kakadu National Park. They are quite correct because, when Kakadu National Park was declared, the federal government drew a little square on a map around the Ranger deposit and refinery and excluded that little island from the national park. Geologically, geographically and environmentally, it is still in the middle of that region. Certainly, people are able to salve their consciences and say that they do not mine in national parks. They get around it be excising those areas from national parks. Mr B. Collins: And, alternatively, putting them in Arnhem Land. Mr HATTON: Mr Speaker, lam not even going to address the issue of Nabarlek. I accept the fact that it is in Arnhem Land and not in Kakadu National Park. I have said consistently that the areas in Kakadu stage I, and the wetland areas, can and should be protected and that there should be no threat to the protection of that environment. We have very serious questions with much of the area of Kakadu stage 2 and similarly with Kakadu stage 3. We want Kakadu stage 2 investigated properly. On our information, and we have considerable information, we say that it will not stack up. Almost every site that the opposition spoke about today is in Kakadu stage 1: ObiriRock, Nourlangie, Yellow Waters and Magela. All those are in stage 1 except for a section of Magela which is ih stage 2. None of us is disputing the importance of those areas or of the escarpment country. They are all in stage 1; we are talking about stage 2. That is the difference between what we are saying and what the opposition and the federal government are trying to obfuscate the community with. There should be no confusion on that issue. We heard a great plea for magpie geese. Magpie geese do need to be protected and we are protecting them, not only in Kakadu but in all of the wetland areas in the Northern Territory. Their nesting habitats are being protected by environmental controls imposed by the Conservation Commission on the Mary, the Adelaide and other river systems. I know the fights that I had as Minister for Conservation with my other departments such as Primary Production and Lands to ensure that those areas were properly protected. That protection has been given for some time now and itwill continue. The opposition's suggestion that the magpie goose is an endangered species in the Northern Territory surprises me. For years, there has been gazettal of open seasons for the hunting of magpie geese and not once has any opposition member ever complained about that. Action is taken to ensure that there is no threat to the species. The opposition has never objected to the fact that there is a hunting season for magpie geese. All of a sudden. we have to protect Kakadu National Park because the geese are vanishing from the face of the earth. That is the argument that members opposite are trying to project. 782