Parliamentary record : Part I debates (14 February 1989)
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
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 14 February 1989 granted under Northern Territory law to Pancontinental and Queensland Mines. The Northern Territory does not have appropriate executive authority. The Commonwealth receives the royalties from uranium mining in the Territory but pays only partial reimbursement to the Northern Territory. By amending the Atomic Energy Act, it would be possible to vest ownership of uranium and other prescribed substances in the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory would then be entitled to receive the royalties. At the same time, the self-government regulations could be amended to give Territory ministers executive authority. (ii) The Ranger authority and associated agreements should be transferred to the Northern Territory. The Ranger authority was granted by the Commonwealth under the Atomic Energy Act. There are a number of associated agreements between the Commonwealth, the joint venturers, the NLC and the Director of the ANPWS. Commonwealth legislation would be required to transfer this authority to the Northern Territory, to be treated as,if it was granted under Territory law and to novate the various agreements. The existing Commonwealth liability to make payments to the NLC and the effect of current litigation concerning that liability would need to be taken into account and the Northern Territory could be indemnified. F. Minerals on Commonwealth land: The ownership of minerals on Commonwealth-owned land should be transferred to the Territory. When the Commonwealth reacquired areas of land within the Northern Territory following self-government, it also acquired the minerals. The Commonwealth retained its title to these minerals. even where the land was subsequently granted as Aboriginal land or where it became a national park. The Commonwealth owns the land and minerals in the conservation zone adjacent to Kakadu National Park stage 3. The Commonwealth has amended the Lands Acquisition Act to facilitate the grant by it of mining titles, with power to override earlier Territory mining titles. It would be possible to transfer the Commonwealth-owned land and minerals, or alternatively those minerals alone, back to the Northern Territory without compensation, as has already been done in one case, and for all mining titles thereafter to be issued under Territory law. G. The Gove Nabalco agreement: The Gove Nabalco agreement should be renegotiated so as to introduce the Northern Territory as a party to it and to secure the long-term future of the town of Nhulunbuy. The parties to the Gove Nabalco agreement are the Commonwealth and the Nabalco joint venturers. However, since self-government, the minerals belong to the Northern Territory and the special mineral lease and special purposes leases are held from the Northern Territory. The agreement should have been transferred ,to the Northern Territory (with appropriate amendments) at the time of self-government, but was not. The present position is inconsistent with self-government. Renegotiations would involve the Commonwealth, the Northern Territory, the joint venturers and the Aboriginals. It should seek to ensure the continuation of the mine and the long-term future of the town after mining ceases. H. Industrial relations: The Northern Territory should have power to establish a Territory system of industrial relations. 5388
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