Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 August 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 16 August 1990 Gorge system, which is more than 40 km long, with the river passing through sandstone cliffs which tower more. than 200 m above the water. Only 3 km from the Victoria Highway is a permanent waterhole which extends for more than 12 km in length. The park has an extensive network of caves. Operation Raleigh members working in the park have recently completed a 10-week project at Limestone Gorge mapping caves which had not been recorded previously. The area wi th i n Gregory Nat i ona 1 Park is steeped in European exploration history and the' spirit of the early' pastoralists, and many valuable relics of these times remain. Exploration of the Victoria River district began with the discovery of the Victoria River by Captain J.C. Wickham and Lieutenant John Lort Stokes in 1839. The North Australian Expedition in 1855",56, led by Augustus Gregory, made its base camp at the spot which is now known as Gregory's Tree Historical Reserve. Further important exploration took place in 1879, when Alexander Forrest's expedition traversed the Wickham River area. These early expeditions and discoveries paved the way for the vast Victoria River district to be opened up to become one of the most important pastoral regions in Australia today. Many sites closely linked to the development of the pastoral industry remain, among them the Victoria River Depot established around 1884, Drover's Rest, TK Camp and Crisp's Grave. Throughout Gregory National Park stand baobab trees bearing century-old engravings wh,ich tell their own story of the area's fascinating history, and the Conservation Commission has moved quickly to protect and preserve these. The park offers a wealth of wildlife species, many of them common Top End inhabitants like the abundant freshwater and salt-water crocodiles, and others not so common, such as the rare purple-crowned wren. Gregory's special qualities and, in particular, its rugged beauty, remoteness and limited accessibility give it the potential to offer travellers a unique and rewarding outback experience. As further facil ities are developed and more areas are opened up, there is little doubt that this unique park, in one of the Territory's most interesting and historically significant regions, will become one of our most popular tourist attractions. Mr Speaker, I move that the Assembly take note of the statement. Mr BAILEY (Wanguri): Mr Speaker, I ri se to support the honourable minister's statement announcing the declaration of Gregory National Park. I believe that it will become one of the Northern Territory's major national parks. Perhaps I might suggest that he could offer me the same sort of guided tour that I had during the luncheon adjournment, when I accompanied the Minister for Labour, Administrative Services and Local Government on a visit to the toxic waste storage area. Whilst I express my support for the declaration of this park, I would like to raise a few minor concerns relating to national parks in general. In his opening remarks, the minister said that a plan of management is being prepared for the Gregory National Park. Whilst I accept that this plan will be forthcomi ng, I poi nt out that we st ill do not have management plans for many of the parks throughout the Territory Many of these parks have been declared for many years, and we are still waiting. Without a management plan, there is no legal control over what occurs in,a park. The concept of Gregory National Park was approved in principle in July 1984. The fact that it has only now been declared indicates how long it takes to set up a park of th i s nature. It also poi nts to the need to commence planning for the management of other areas which need to be 9901
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