Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (14 February 1989)



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





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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 14 February 1989 Under section 53 of the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act, the Commonwealth industrial system is extended to the Northern Territory, including for purely intra-Territory industrial awards and related matters. The Legislative Assembly has only a very limited grant of legislative power in this matter although ministers of the Territory have executive authority in labour relations. The grant of full legislative power for the Northern Territory can be achieved by amendment of the relevant Commonwealth legislation. I point out that it is not essential for us to determine and implement a Northern Territory industrial relations system at the time such a power is transferred. We seek the authority to do so when we are ready to. I. Land matters - Commonwealth land: All Commonwealth land in the Northern Territory, not held for genuinely federal-type purposes, should be transferred to the Territory without cost. At self-government, the basic title to all land in the Territory was automatically transferred to the new Northern Territory body politic. However, the Commonwealth was given 12 months within which to acquire back a fee simple interest without compensation. The most notable example of this reacquisition was in the Alligator Rivers region. Most of the land acquired has since been granted as Aboriginal land or vested in the director of national parks. Some Commonwealth-owned land remains in the region including some public roads and the conservation zone. Other Commonwealth-owned land elsewhere in the Territory is being identified to establish whether it is required for genuinely federal-type purposes. J. Ashmore and Cartier Islands: The island territory of Ashmore and Cartier should be reincorporated with the Northern Territory. Prior to self-government, this island territory was deemed to form part of the Northern Territory. The connection was removed at self-government but most Territory laws still apply there. The island territory carries with it its own adjacent area under offshore petroleum legislation for which the Northern Territory minister is the designated authority but without any entitlement to royalties. An Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve has been proclaimed over the islands and surrounding seas under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act. The island territory could be reincorporated as part of the Northern Territory by amendments to Commonwealth legislation. Arrangements would have to be made with the Commonwealth as to- patrols and surveillance. K. Environmental legislation: Commonwealth environmental legislation of particular application to the Territory should be repealed and replaced by Territory legislation if appropriate. Apart from the special application of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act and Regulations in the Territory, the Commonwealth parliament has enacted the Environment Protection (Alligator Rivers Region) Act 1978, establishing the Office of the Supervising Scientist, the Alligator Rivers Region Research Institute and the Coordinating Committee for the Region, and the Environment Protection (Northern Territory Supreme Court) Act of 1978. This legislation, in its special application to the Territory, could be repealed and replaced by Northern Territory legislation. Existing financial reimbursement arrangements between the Commonwealth and the Northern Territory for environmental monitoring of uranium mining under Territory laws would require reconsideration. 5389