Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




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 27 February 1990 developed a machine which was acknowledged as a real breakthrough in terms of replanting degraded soils and developing arid soils. The person concerned wi shed to deve lop the concept into a bus i nes s enterpri se; to se 11 the machines throughout Australia and to export th~m to countries in arid and semi-arid areas around the world. The government I s response was: 'No way I It would not release the designs and, as. far as I know, no further progress has been made. That is absolutely outrageous. If we are to do something more than simply talk about the Greenhouse Effect and environmental degradation, we should be using the fact that this is virtually the only first-world nation which occupies the arid zone. We have the ability, in places like the Arid Zone Research Institute in Central Australia, and through the efforts of CSIRO, to develop technology which could be utilised throughout the world to do some real good for people living in arid and semi-arid zones and, consequently, some real good for ourselves by expanding our technological base. I do not think that we have come anywhere near to defining our role in sorting out our environmental and climatic problems. It is some 20 years since the debate on the establishment of a new world economic order was held through the extensive networks of the United Nations. That debate was killed by the great divide which existed between eastern and western blocs. Now that the east-west divide has collapsed, one would hope that something will be done to resolve the problems of international indebtedness whith are the fundamental cause forcing nations to seek quick returns by degrading their forests rather than exploiting them in a sustainable way. Nationsare forced to do that in an attempt to payoff debt and to respond to thei r peop1e ' s needs for better standards of living. Having done our bit to destroy the world in the 1800s and 1900s, we cannot stand in the way of other people who want their place in the sun. We have no right to say that they must continue to live as noble savages in primitive conditions because we do not want them to muck up the environment. We have to learn that the world is an oyster and that what affects one part of it affects the rest. If we expect other nations to improve their economies without destroying the total world environment, we have to do more than Simply attend conferences and pour forth ho1ier-than-thou statements. We have to try.to find some solutions. For example, here in the Northern Territory, we should be using institutions such as our university to develop new ideas which can result in the transfer of appropriate technology to nations in the same climatic zones as ourselves. That is the way to do something for nations in the semi-arid zone. Mr Speaker, I suppose that the debate has progressed to some extent. I recall reading in the Centra1ian Advocate in the latter half of 1988 that the Chief Minister had delivered a major speech on the Greenhouse Effect to a conference in central Australia. As I remember it, the Chief Minister spoke as if he occupied his position in the latter half of the 21st century. His most widely reported observation frOIl) that vantage point focused on the advantages whi ch the Northern Territory wou1 d ga in from the ecological disaster known as the Greenhouse Effect. He waxed lyrical about the Northern Territory being turned into the grain bowl of Asia by the increased rainfall resulting from climatic changes. He spok~ quite wi stfully of the Territory feedi ng the starvi ng masses, most of whom woul d no doubt have been living in houses raised on high stilts on very small islands, by virtue of the fact that lands which had been dry in the 20th century had subsequently been inundated by the same beneficial rains. 8769