Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (25 May 1988)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (25 May 1988)


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 - Wednesday 25 May 1988 3-mines policy is the best policy. However, I want the government to realise that there are real difficulties with some of the alternatives which, in fact, would be worse for the Territory. PERSONAL EXPLANATION Mr PALMER (Karama)(by leave): Mr Speaker, the member for Sadadeen cast some doubt upon the facts I presented in my speech. I did say that matter could neither be created nor destroyed and the member for Sadadeen took issue with that. I am prepared to cite my authority for that statement. I cite the Professor of Physics at Pittsburg University, Dr Bernard Cohen. On page 120 of his book entitled 'Before It Is Too Late', he says, and I quote: 'As we know from elementary physical science courses, matter can be neither created nor destroyed'. I cite that as my source and I hope that the member for Sadadeen will be prepared to cite his source. Mr SETTER (Jingili): Mr Speaker, the minister said in his statement earlier today: 'The nuclear industry is growing rapidly on a global basis while Australia goes to sleep'. He further said: 'Uranium is Australia's greatest untapped source of revenue. We have already lost over the past decade more than $4000m in revenue from uranium exports'. I listened to the member for Stuart saying that, as far as he was concerned, in terms of his party's policy, it was now time for morality and reality. I ask you, Mr Speaker! It is because of the 3-mines policy of the Labor Party that other suppliers of uranium around the world have been standing back laughing their heads off. It is absolutely unbelievable stuff. Quite obviously, since the Northern Territory Labor Party Conference on 30 April, members opposite have had a change of heart and uranium mining is all okay now. More about that later, Mr Speaker. There is no doubt about the fact that Australia was one of the first countries to develop its uranium resource. Back in 1954, Rum Jungle and Radium Hill were developed as uranium-producing mines and Mary Kathleen followed in 1958. I can vividly recall my many visits to Mary Kathleen when I lived in Mt Isa during the 1960s. Mary Kathleen gave a tremendous boost to the economy of the Cloncurry area. Those mines have been worked out and are gone. In more recent times, since the 1970s, we have seen the development of the Ranger uranium mine and Nabarlek. Unfortunately, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, governments were influenced by the antinuclear lobby. One could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps some of our competitors might have been funding organisations involved in the antinuclear lobby. It would certainly have been in their best interests to support and finance organisations involved in banner waving and campaigning to convince the Whitlam and Fraser governments that they should not proceed with the dev'elopment of the uranium province. I can recall that, when I first came to the Northern Territory in 1973, I spoke to an engineer from Adelaide. He had come up here with the Commonw~alth Department of Works and had a plan laid out for the township of Jabiru. He had been sent here as the on-site engineer. However, it was not until the late 1970s that Jabiru was developed. That was because. of the Fox Inquiry, which began in 1975. The uranium industry was put on hold because governments were listening to the antinuclear lobby and the environmental lobby and a whole range of people running around pushing their own barrows. Fools that we were at the time - and I am not referring to the Northern Territory government but to the Australian government - we listened. Today, Australia ranks sixth among the uranium-producing nations. While we were in limbo and our uranium 3301

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