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Hello and welcome to Stateline, I'm Laetitia Lemke.

Coming up - what kind of

dangers are the Territory's

troops facing in Afghanistan?

under threat from future

development? And the development? And the young Territory sailor making his

mark overseas. It's a amazing.

It is the feeling of It is the feeling of flying,

you're just cruising along just

above the water, the spray in the your face, the freshness, it is the best thing can you do for that day. In her first week

as the newly eye as the newly eye lengthed Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has attended two funerals for soldiers killed As the conflict intensifies,

1400 soldiers from Darwin's Robertson barracks are in the

process of being deployed to

the war zone. In the midst of

those preparations, I caught

with the man in charge of the soldiers, Brigadier Gus

McLachlan. Thank you for joining us. My pleasure. More troops heading over to

Afghanistan. What kind of situation are they heading

into? Is it increasingly

dangerous? It is getting more dangerous in the sense that we

are doing more. The Australian army has expanded its area of influence around Tarin influence around Tarin Kowt where we're operating. We've recently taken responsibility for

the Afghan national army fourth

brigade who we are training to

one day replace Mohammed Asif

the security force. What do you

tell troops about the risk they're going to encounter?

I've had some really the young people as I move around and watch their traping.

I spoke to a young man the

other night who is going to be

an engineer searcher, that's

the young person who has to go

in front of our

vehicles, for example, and search for imadvice EDexplosive

devices. He said I just hope I don't miss something, it was

very real to him. All you can

say to them is you're really well trained, trust well trained, trust your

training, do your best team and that's all that people

ask of you. We think we're

very honest and open with them.

The training that we've designed is designed designed is designed to expose

them to the reality of the

scenario that they're going to face and by face and by that I mean, you

know, we've got cultural role

players for example. We've got

a bun of of Afghan from a bun of of Afghan from the Afghan communities in Sydney and Melbourne have come up to

help us. They role play tribal

Elders and village Elders,

members of the Afghan army and

that gets the shock of dealing

with these different cultures out in the young people deal with them. Our medal training is realistic

and first class. Again, what

we want is it their worst day

that is going to happen to them in the next eight months happens here. They've seen happens here. They've seen the

shock, noise blood and dust shock, noise blood and dust and they're ready to go. I think

they're really well trained.

They are well led and that's

all we can do The Dutch have

pulled out as of last month.

They're reported to have very

good relationships with locals

on the ground. What's is going

to be like for your troops working with the

working with the American soldiers. The Dutch were a great partner. They were very good at what I call the provisional reconstruction

teams. The Dutch had a good

rapport with the locals and

they were a great partner and

we miss them. I think it is up

to us, though, to learn a bit

from what the Dutch did in the way they ipt acted with the

operation. We'll try to take

the best of the Dutch approach in marry that up with ours and

the American approach to come

up with the best package that we can. Former Australian army

Colonel says Australian troops

are accompanying Afghan troops

more and more on live combat

operations and that's putting

them more at risk. Is that

something you've seen? I know

David well, he's a observer and what he says is

accurate. I i we're out there

on the ground with the fourth Afghan National Army brigade. That's the way to train That's the way to train and

mentor them. Over time we will

be able to step back from that

role as they gain in confidence and willingness to take over

these areas. As you take the

fight to the Taliban, can we

expect to see more deaths, more casualties amongst Australian

troops? Look, I would be dishonest

dishonest to say that there dishonest to say that there is

no risk of casualties. We are

in a war against a very determined, toughen me,

for a long time. We are

incredibly well trained and well equipped and I think we're giving a good account of

ourselves. But what we do is dangerous dangerous and sadly, it is possible that there may be

further casualties. Is the Taliban becoming Taliban becoming more sophisticated? I don't know

about sophisticated. They're

an experienced and tough force.

Some of these people fought the Russians many years ago and they're hardened. They've got

a warrior culture. We haven't seen any particular evidence of rapidly developing rapidly developing technical innovation. We're a tough, determined enemy who

will do its best to disrupt

what we do. Are you what we do. Are you concerned

about a shift in public

sentiment as the death toll rises in Afghanistan? We have been aware of some, even here

in the Northern Territory, local polling. At the end of the day we take our advice about what the community of Australia thinks through our

democratically elected government. That's how our

democracy works. Both democracy works. Both the major parties are clear that

they are determined to stay the course in Afghanistan and I

think that level of clarity and

confidence has gone through to

the soldiers on the ground. It

is not just at the political

level. I think even members of

the community who may have

decided that they don't agree

with the mission in really supportive of the

soldiers and what they do. That's

That's wonderful. That hasn't

always been the case. Some of

our predecessor who went to

Vietnam for example protesters

weren't able to separate them from their

mission. That's not case here

and certainly not the case and certainly not the case in Darwin. We get wonderful

support. Many members of the

Darwin community know nobody

who is deemploying and really

all we're asking for them is a

bit of extra TLC for those

people you work with or

interact with whose family

member might be deemploying member might be deemploying to Afghanistan Thank you for your

time. My pleasure. appearance of a black plastic

barricade on the cliff top at

mile oo Myilly Point last month

generated fears among supporters of Darwin's heritage precinct. The National Trust wants the Territory government to extent the heritage

protection of the area to

ensure a hotel or apartments

aren't built on the top of the

cliff. But the government says

the area will be protected. Michael Coghlan reports. A

visit to Darwin a Myilly Point heritage precinct is a heritage precinct is a well worn path for worn path for tourists visiting

the Top End. It is bullet

marks all up that first column

of the house, the of the house, the cement columns. The precinct is a rare

slice of pre-World War slice of pre-World War II

history. It preserves hour houses built on prime real estate for senior public

servants in the 1930s. The houses of have survived

bombings, vie clones

bulldozers. This is the last

little bit of Darwin. This was

saved by the community. They

literally stood in front of the

bulldozers. They stood on thing. They said, "Don't do

this." In 185 the this." In 185 the Territory

government sent in demolition Coalition crews to remove dozens of houses from Myilly

Point in the hope of developing a multi million and resort. Lord Alistair McAlpine the McAlpine the developer of Cable Beach in Broome was one of Beach in Broome was one of the potential investors. I'm potential investors. I'm trying

to get the go ahead to build a

hotel. It won't be a concrete and brass affair. It will and brass affair. It will be

be very sympathetic to the landscape. It will be built in

amongst the landscape. amongst the landscape. None of it will be higher than a palm

tree. A public yu cry save the

four houses that now developments have been proposed

for the site but all have failed. Four years ago, moves

to sell a large area of public

land at Little Mindil land at Little Mindil between

the Darwin Casino and Myilly Point triggered more protests.

Despite the protests, the land

was sold to the Darwin Casino

for $6.6 million as part of for $6.6 million as part of the development of a tropical

resort. The Territory

Government assured Government assured the protesters the area would be

protected. In five years time people who enjoy little min-Dal

now with walking along the creek, fishing from the creek mouth, enjoying the escarpment

they'll doing exactly that. They

They will be doing it without

weeds all over the escarpment

and doing it with a more protected conservation

area. This is how the monsoon

vine forest at the top of the

escarpment looked in 2006. The

then minister promised to protect and conserve the escarpment. The protesters weren't expecting this. The

vine forest was been cut down

as part of the casino's weed eradication program. eradication program. National Trust gardener Gavin Perry forest for more than 20 forest for more than 20 years. He says the He says the government and the Darwin Casino have failed to protect the escarpment. I'm

very angry about it. I'm angry that the land was

included in the sale. But included in the sale. But I'm

very angry they've mull chd the

vine forest. You can see the

sign still standing on the top

of the cliff informing the public of how rare and precious

the vine forests are on the

cliff top escarpment cliff top escarpment around

Darwin. Part of the covenant on

that cliff face in a native vegetated state. Part of the

work we did was remove work we did was remove the

coffee bush which was

coffee bush which was an introduced weed. We took introduced weed. We took that

away and we've planted it out with a couple of with a couple of thousands

native the. Gavin Perry says the casino has failed to use

the best practice to the best practice to conserve and rehabilitate the

escarpment. There will be a

lot of native trees re planted.

There are plants re planted on

the cliff top, but they're beach plants and are assorted

woodland plants ace Yass that aren't part of the vine forest.

It is a direct contradiction of

their own covenant. A lot of research was done into that particular work and we believe

it's taking it back to what it was originally. The National

Trust is more worried about the

possibility the casino could

build a hotel or units on this

prime piece of real estate.

Those concerns were piqued

during the recent Darwin Cup

ball when the casino erected a

2 metre high black plastic

barricade and employed security

guards to stop people looking

on the event at the lawns below. We did in the first discussions about Little Mindil

we spoke the then minister, certainly with the then minister's adviser and were assured We truly believed this was not going to be the case. The

inclusion of the top of the escarpment in the title of the lot concerned is what is

throwing a lot of people into confusion and people are being

scared by that. Andrew Wilson

is overseeing the development

of the Darwin Casino's new tropical resort including the construction of a construction of a massive saltwater lagoon on saltwater lagoon on the market

side of the casino. He says

the covenants on the Little Mindil lease prevent construction on top of the

escarpment but he can't rule out development there in future. The land is controlled

by the covenant and the

covenant is controlledgy the

government. I can't guarantee

what the government does. If

they remove the covenant one

could built on it. could built on it. But that's

not the situation. government has that right to

control that particular aspect of it. The Planning Minister,

Gerry McCarthy, is on leave this week and the acting Planning Minister wasn't available to talk to Stateline. But in response to questions

raised in Territory Parliament in August, Mr McCarthy

emsidesed the protection provided by a covenant on the escarpment. Concerns have been

raised that the escarpment raised that the escarpment will be with cliff top towers similar

to those on the Esplanade. The

covenant which requires protection and maintenance of the escarpment will prevent development from occurring. There are caveats in place at the moment but the

best sort of exertion that

government could apply over the

area is not to transfer the title of the top of the

escarpment to the casino. The

National Trust is worried

because the casino's lease over Little Mindil and the escarpment will become freehold

title within 10 years, but the

department of planning says the covenant preventing development

on the escarpment will continue. If there was to be any development on away from the escarpment area,

you know, the owner of the land

would need to go through a

planning process which in itself is a public process

opportunity to comment, but the

covenant is there, it is in perpetuity and it is there to

protect the escarpment area. The National Trust wants

visitors and locals to continue

to enjoy the view from Myilly

support from the Territory Point and is now pursuing

Opposition to back an extension

of the heritage precinct to

include the land at the top of the believe, would provide some the escarpment. That, we

surety for the community in the

future that this little piece

of old Darwin, which is

becoming increasingly rare, the old Darwin is this section is much loved, it old Darwin is disappearing,

would ensure that its aspect

and its heritage values were

protected. As the dust settles on the election, the Northern

Land Council's Kim Hill has called on the Territory's Federal Labor representatives

to step down to make to step down to make room for fresh blood. of the Central Land Council,

Tracker Tilmouth, has now

bought into that debate. The

long time Labor Party member

says there's a need for more

Aboriginal leaders in the Federal Parliament and the Northern Territory should be

leading that charge. I spoke to Tracker Tilmouth earlier today. Tracker Tilmouth, welcome to the program. Thank

you. Traditionally, indigenous

people have voted Labor in people have voted Labor in the

election just gone we've seen a

huge swing away from the bush particularly in huge swing away from Labor in Lingiari.

Lingiari. Why is that? The

policies of Jenny Macklin are

to blame. The the way that the the racial discrimination act,

councils have been put

program has been working, together, the way the housing

these policies to a certain program has been working, all

Aboriginal people aren't silly. extent have struggled.

Aboriginal people can see who

and when is looking after them

relation and how will they react in

relation to the election. If we take both candidates, Warren Snowden and Trish Crossin from the Labor the Labor Party, Warren

Snowden, to his credit, at

certain times has stood up

the scenes in Canberra. the Aboriginal people behind

Unfortunately, Trish Crossin has been missing in action. To

a certain extent I agree with

day. There is a time to Kim Hill's assessment the other

on, day. There is a time to move

overstayed their welcome and

Aboriginal people have moved away from them away from them electorally. It

comes to issues lies the intervention, though, intervention, though, that's

something that both the CLP and

the ALP are in favour of. Is

there something there in misinformation then? The

intervention promised a lot and

delivered little. We spent a

lot of money on Aboriginal services rather than people. There are no jobs,

there's no economic development

and what we ended up was a huge

bureaucracy ran on

misinformation and misfortune of Aboriginal people. We had the basic card which an absolute nightmare. You have to watch the grog problems an

in Alice Springs. We have misinformation, policies that don't work, absolutely

genocidal policies in relation

to the suspension of the racial

discrimination act and you can

put all this down to Jenny

immediately. There's no way in Macklin. She should be removed

the world that any Aboriginal people in the Northern

Territory, to an extent Australia, would support her re appointment. In this situation you're calling for leaders, you're indigenous,

you're's leader, why don't you throw your hat in the ring?

by the grey hair, I'm a bit Unfortunately, as you can tell

past it, plus my health is an absolutely paramount at this

time. Look, there are

Aboriginal people out there who

are capable of representing us in Parliament. There are

Aboriginal people well

qualified in this area.

Unfortunately, due to the way

the Gerry mander and the branch being stacking within the Labor

Party these people don't get a

We have a a clique in Darwin We have a a clique in Darwin of well intentioned non-indigenous people, the entrenched ied logs, who will decide who be nominated for pre-lek shun

for the Labor Party. Unfortunately Aboriginal Unfortunately Aboriginal people

don't get a look in. Do we need to re advice the idea of having a Aboriginal and Torres a Aboriginal and Torres Strait island der party given indigenous issues weren't on the platforms of both the platforms of both parties

in the election just past. I

think that's a good idea. I think Aboriginal independents are going to be

election. I don't think any Aboriginal people who currently

enjoys explore in their

electorate, any Aboriginal

member of state parliament can feel comfortable. Aboriginal people have decided and are

totally unite EDagain the

against Labor Party policies inventionz, are totally united

and I don't think anybody can

be comfortable they're going to

be re elected. I think

Aboriginal people will be

considering either independents

or a move to place into a quasi Aboriginal or a move to place themselves

alliance or Coalition and go to

the electorate in manner. Who do you think needs the electorate in that

to put that party together? Will you be part of that? No,

I'm a rostered on Labor bloke.

I'm a union person, I'm also a Labor member. I don't to a certain extent disagree with

the intent. I certainly don't

disagree with the

dissatisfaction and distrust of the Aboriginal people against

the policies of the current

Labor Party, but I do know that something has to be done and

something has to be done very

quickly. It does sound like

you're moving away from Labor,

though? Im-Aboriginal as well

as a Labor Party member. I'm

torn between two things, I my loyalty to the Labor Party and

as an Aboriginal person. If

there are issues not addressed by the Labor Party there are issues not being

issues not being dealt with I'll speak up. If there are

representation, I'll certainly that requires other that requires

speak up on that as well. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you. there's a new

name in international sailing.

Territory born Jack Benson is

making waves around the world.

As far as boat racing goes,

he's still an amateur but star in the making. It's experts say Jack Benson is a

amazing. You know, the feeling

of flying, you're just along just above the water,

spray in your face, the

freshness. It's the best thing

you can do for that day.

22-year-old Jack Benson is the

next big thing in sailing.

He's just returned to home

waters after competing in the A-Class World Championship in Italy where he was ranked world number 1 in the junior division. S' been number one in

his age group for this style of

sailing, multi hulling, at the

top of this game for some time.

It's good, you know. There's

no point in getting too cocky no point in getting too

about it. You enjoy about it. You enjoy the

moments, have fun with it. Jack Benson's been turning head in a

class of racing that's been

dominated by Australian salers

the junior world title, he's for many years. While he holds

also been ranked third in the

world in the open age category, Colling in behind two other

Australians, Glen Ashby and

Steve Brewin. These two chaps Steve Brewin. These two

have dominated this class for have dominated this class for

perhaps the last soy for a young chap like Jack

to be coming through the ranks

very experienced, very talented and come third behind twees two

sailors, is very credible.

It's fantastic. To have

Australians finish 1, 2, Australians finish 1, 2, 3 in the world, where they've three Australian flags from I the world, where they've got

there was 101 sailors there don't know, but they did, and

from all over the from all over the world. Jack Benson's been sailing

independently since he was 10.

He's raced tore anyway know He's raced tore anyway know

class catamarans international

sailor Steve Brewin to take out will a teamed up with veteran will a teamed

the F18 sailing championships the F18 sailing

in Victoria this year. It in Victoria this year. It is

the A-Class catamaran, one of

the fastest and lightest on the

water that's captured his heart. A-Class is a great heart. A-Class is a great boat.

It is single handed, I get to

sail it by myself, I don't have

to worry about trying to find to worry about trying to find a crew or someone like that. It's high performance, which is

what I like, it's fast, light, only

only 75 kilos, know man moving

it and that it's quite easy.

It's a beautiful boat. This is

the start of the 87 Ambon race when I was pregnant with champion comes from a long line

of sailors. His parents competed in national and

international races and they

had their children out on the

water from a young water from a young age. Jack was sailing from the was sailing from the day he was conceived because Libby was 7 months pregnant when months pregnant when we wasn't to Ambon in the Ambon race that to Ambon in the Ambon race that

year and she stunned the local

girls on her arriving with the

size of herbal ler and the fact

she's done the race in her

condition. I love my fishing,

yes, so sailing was just that

ten that I took. Jack Benson says

says Estonia his next big step

is turning professional, like his heroes and mentors, Glen Ashby and Steve Brewin, whose

names have become synonymous with professional sailing. For

a young man from Darwin who is not sailing professionally to try to set in his goals, his sights, how to get past Glen

Ashby is an exceptionally tough

ask, but it's youth that's ask, but it's youth that's on his side. Glen Ashby has won 7

A-Class world championships and is an Olympic medallist in the sport, succeeding at this level

will be no small feat for Jack Benson. That he can come third

at the age that

is, means he's got the time in

front of him and he's got

physical capabilities and has

the opportunity to learn the opportunity to learn from these guys. Unfortunately for

these guys, the more they share

with him and the more they

mentor the closer he's going to

get to knock them off their pedestal. How are you,

mate. Good. International yacht

racing is an expensive sport of

the Jack Benson's family and

helping to foot the bill but

he's outgrown his local he's outgrown his local support base. He's very good and very determined. I'll keep helping

him, but it's going to be hard

because you can't get much more

money out of Darwin. I money out of Darwin. I think this trip to Europe cost me

somewhere between $16,000 and

$20,000 and I was currently

studying at university, studying at university, so to

try and come up with, you know,

$20,000 while you're $20,000 while you're studying at university is next to

impossible. Now sailing is

taking centre stage. Jack Benson's deferred his university studies to take up

full-time work. He'll use the

money to travel back to Europe

where he can get the sailing experience he needs. To achieve world status you need

to compete in Europe, so you

have to be able to sail in have to be able to sail in a

fleet of 100 boats. You can't get that sort of competition

sailing in Australia. about It's going to take time, money and a but as far as this local boy is

concerned, the sky's the

limit. Maybe I can go on to

sail as good as these top guys

and I can keep pushing for this, especially now whole this, especially now whole I'm

young and try to make the most

of it while I can. That's all

we have time for this week.

We'll leave you with Jenny's or

kid gar again which is open to

the public this weekend in

Howard Springs. Have ray great weekend and see you