Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Stateline (NT) -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) CC

Hello and welcome to

Territory Stateline, I'm

assessing the health of the Top Melinda James. Coming up -

End's rivers and the

Immigration Minister accuses

Sudanese refugees of not

integrating but the community

hits back. Today even at the

shame because of what the bus stop I was sitting with the

Minister has said. I didn't feel comfortable because of

that and I know we are not

people of that kind.

This week about 250 people

attended a public meeting at

oppose the Territory Girraween primary school to

Government's local government

reforms. The meeting was called

by the independent member for

Nelson and one-time Litchfield

shire councillor Gerry Wood who

is staunchly opposed to the

merging of council,

particularly for the Litchfield

shire. Gerry Wood is calling on the Territory Government to

stop the amalgamation process

and he received the unanimous

support of those present at the

meeting. In a moment we'll hear

from the local government

Minister, Elliot McAdd am but

first here's a look at what was

said at Tuesday night's meeting. Didn't expect this

many but I think at least this

shows a lot of interest in

what's happening in the shire

at the present time. I'm saying

this whole thing is a big con.

I'm simply asking the

Government to stop it now,

start again. It's not totally

negative. It's siing we think

you've gone the wrong way about

it. You're not vooefing the

community. You don't have to

be Einstein to see people are

unhappy about it. We'd like to

see the Government go right

back to the drawing board and

flesh out some of the detail to

do with this. There clearly

isn't any detail. I think Gerry

nailed it on the head, sit a

bit of a con job. We think

rates are going to rise. Why

don't you ask the people here

who came along tonight to find

out what they really want to

know. Do we want to go sw

something like this or go ahead

and stay the way where we are

where we poke along and know

where we are. What will happen

down the track in the next

three year, will be our rate an

our properties will go flu the

roof.Ual be paying $4,000,

$5,000 a year like they do down

south and properties around the

rural areas like towns like

Sydney and Melbourne. That's

what you've got to look at and

I'm against them coming in here

and squashing us. One's a bit

of an olive branch, the other

is sticking the boot in that's

why I've two motion

there's. One motion asked the

Government to start from strach

and involve the community from

the beginning. The other

expressed no confidence in the

Northern Territory Government

because of the amateurish way

in which local government

reform has proceeded so

far. All those in favour of the

two motions? (Eye. All those

against. (I'll lens) Thank you

very much. Welcome to

Stateline. Good evening. 250 or

so residents of the Litchfield

shire passed a motion of no confidence in your Government

for the way its handled these

reforms unanimously call for

the process to stopped and

calling it amateur ish what is

your response to that?

Obviously you respect the right

of people to protest in any

form they wish. But I think the

most important thing here is

that we have an absolute

obligation to ensure that we

put in place a new form of

local government to provide certainty, opportunity, to

allow communities in the bush,

including the Litchfield people, including the Top End

people, to have a real future

going forward and as hard as it

might be, I mean I remain very, very committed in terms of

getting an outcome because I am

absolutely convinced and I'm

absolutely certain that the

majority of the people in the

Northern Territory are of the

view that these changes are

necessary. But could this

process have been handled

better? Well I mean if you're

referring to the meeting that

happened out at Girraween, I

mean, you know, quite clearly

it was politically motivated

and as I say I respect the

right of people to be there. There are 250 residents

I don't think all of them would

have political afillations were

expressing their anger. As I

say, I understand, appreciate

and respect that. The meeting

was convened by crarny, it was

attend by Gerry Wood so purely

was a political motivation or

an outcome on their part. But

however hard this might be, I

mean there's 250 people out

there and I respect that, but I

would dare say that there's

probably thousands of other

people out there in the

Northern Territory who

recognise these reforms are absolutely necessary. People do

seem to be convinced that they

will be paying thousands of

dollars in rates if they own a

big property. Can you alay

those fears or is that a distinct possibility that

people do face thousands of

dollars in rates? What I can

say is this and I've said it

before is that we've put in

place what I consider to be,

and indeed most fair minded

people consider to be, a very,

very fair and equitable rating

system in respect to the Top

End shire. Now, you know f

there's large properties there

then I would say that go and

put your properties into WA and

Queensland and see what you

pay. These are very fair, these

are very equitable, these

protect the battlers in the

context of those ratings and as

I've said, these ratings are

very indickttive in respect to

what might occur across the

Northern Territory. Now the

Litchfield shire is a

compartively large council or

local government area compared

to a lot of the smaller government councils and the

land that they cover, why can't

the Litchfield shire stay as it

is as many of the residents

seem to want? I mean the point

is that they probably could

stay as they are but going

forward Litchfield shire in 10

to 15 years time will not be viable. Ki tell you that right

now. We have financial

modelling around that. They

were about to lose 3 to 400,000

as a result of the NT grants

commission formula and by - But

if they say they want low

services so low rates low

services, can't they just stay

paying very low rates and have

low services? They can actually

achieve those same outcomes

under this existing ratings

system and in terms of the Top

End shire because what we've

done is we've maintained the

rates in terms of CPI for three

years and of course very

conscious of the fact that

people, you know v a very

unique lifestyle out there and

they want to maintain that into

the future and that's one of

the things that we'd want to

work with the Top End shire.

And more importantly, the shire itself can determine the level

of services into the future. I mean

mean no new shire is going to

rip people's rates up by 300%

to 400% if you can't adequately

provide service. In terms of

service, in terms of lifestyle the people of Top End shire

will be able to do that as well

as they're doing right now. The

people who were at that meeting

vowed to maintain political

pressure on you by mounting a

big campaign that they say will continue irrespective of

whether the local Government

act amendments go through

parliament before the end of

the year. Are you concern ed

about that pressure that's

going to be applied upon you

for the next couple of

months? No, not at all, not at all. The most important thing

here is that the Northern Territory Government has a vision. The Northern Territory

has a direction for the future, the Northern Territory

Government. In terms of

providing the best possible

services, the best possible

councils, strong councils,

better services, certainty,

opportunity. So just briefly,

their calls for this process to

stop and for you to start from

scratch are completely in

vain? As I said, I respect the

views of people out there but

I've also got to take into

consideration the position, the

circumstances of thousands of

other Territorian s and, you know, given what we've been

through in terms of local

government over the last 20-odd

year, I'm not prepared to stand

by and I Lou what's happened in

the past to continue into the

future. Thank you very much for

joining us. Thank you very

much.

The Territory Government has

indicated that the ban on land

clearing along the Daly River

might be lifted before the end

of the year. The prolonged drought is focussing the

nation's eyes on the wet

tropics like every before and

developers are eager to cash in

on what's often seen as

unlimited water resources. But

researchers studying native

fresh water frish are urging caution.

These scientists are out for

a day of fishing on the

Katherine River south of Darwin

but this is no ordinary fishing

expedition. Instead of hooks or

net, these researchers from

Griffith University in and the

tir tore ace Department of

Fishery are Hahn Yassing 700

volts of electricity to bag

their catch. What it involves

is putting an electric current

into the water and that stuns

fish within a limited radius of

the current and all their

muscles contract and they turn

over and you've got a limited,

short amount of time to get the

net in there and scoop them

up. It's a technique called

electrofishing. The electrical

current can be delivered by

boat or back pack with rubber

gum boot, gloves and waders

protecting the researchers from

being zapped by the strong

Curran. It's a great tool for collecting fish without

damaging them, like gill

netting or something like that,

you're bound to kill lots of

fish and this has a very low

mortality rate associated with

it. It is an extraordinary

technique.

Scientists are carrying out

what is called a fish and flow

study. It's been under way for

two years in the Northern

Territory and it's all about

getting the data that's needed

to better manage the Territory

's rivers. The scientists are counting fish numbers,

examining breeding patterns and

recording changes in fish populations. What we're trying

to do is to look at the

distribution of fish in the

river, what sort of fish occur

in the river. If we can

identify when they're breeding,

whether they have particular

spawning habitat requirements

and so on, to try and build up

a picture of the way the river

works and for the fresh water

fish in this river. While the

Katherine and Daly rivers

support more than 50 fresh

water fish species, little is

known about how much water they

need to survive. The water in

these rivers varies greatly

depending on the season and the

year. While scientists are

studying the impact of this

extreme natural variability,

they're also trying to predict

the impact on the fish of

changes in the water flow as a

result of increases in water extraction. If we were to extract too much water there's

an increased risk that the

incidents of disease in fish

might increase. So that's just

one of the risks

involved. Once the researchers

are back on land, the catch is

examined. This time the nets

have delivered a baby sooty

grunter or black brim, an

important FBI fish for angling

and traditional owners. It's

also an indicator of river

health. That would be an

indicator of good quality, of

good the flow regime staying in

good shape. There were also

some surprises, including this

fish called a mouth jal

almighty. Sometimes we catch

these with a mouth full of

several hundred small yellow

eggs and sometimes when the

eggs have hatched, the larvae

will swim out from the mouth

and the adult will suck them back in when there's

danger. The Katherine River is

coming under increasing

pressure from agricultural use.

In the Katherine region farmers

are the greatest users pumping

around 20 gigalitres each year

for irrigation, four times the

amount used by the public and agricultural use could more

than double if new applications

to grow irrigated peanut, table

grapes, corn and soy a beans

are given the green light. This

river is unusual in having this

dry season base flow that's

derived from ground water and

that makes it fairly special

across northern Australia. It's

one of the reasons why people

are interested in taking water

out of it. The peanut company

of Australia has already bought

more than 10,000 hectares adjoining the Katherine River

to access water and sure up

supply. Next year the buying

and selling of water, known as

water trading, will begin. Some

small farmers are deeply

concerned about the impact that

will have on the river. I

believe water is going to be a

tradable commodity and I'm dead

against thasmt once you put a

monetary figure on it it's

going to be open to

speculators. You've got guys

with big wallets who just come

in, buy all the water and

there's none left for locals an

for the fish and for the

Aboriginal people who fish down

stream and the recreational

fishers, etc, etc. The Territory Government's

community advisory group has

been given the job of deciding

just who will get access to the

water. It's also been asked to

set a limit on water use by

midway through next year. While

the final results of the fish

and flow study won't be available until after that

decision is made, researchers

remain hopeful their data will

provide the support for a

sensible extraction cap. There

has to be some sort of cap on

extraction on dry season flows

because it is sustaining the

bio diversity in this

river. We've had some really

good wet seasons in the last

five years but we've got to

really cater for the demand for

the worst-case scenario, not

the best-case scenario. As well

as a water supply for agriculture, the Katherine

River is also a major

attraction for tourists and

locals alike. Aboriginal

traditional owners want to

ensure the river is well

managed. You can't see my

barramundi anymore. One or two

and that's about all. Many

brim, black bream this country.

Now you hardly ever see them as

well. Traditional owner

communities take this very,

very broad view of the river

and its water and it's a

different view to ours and that

view needs to be incorporated

into the process. They are one

of the most important

stakeholders in the entire

process. While the results of

this study won't be known until

2009, researchers have already highlighted the importance of

the Katherine and Daly Rivers

showing they're home to many

more fish species than the

entire Murray-Darling. The work

is also increasing our

knowledge of rare species of

fish and the information being

gathered will help protect the

Katherine River for future

generations. It's up to the

community to say are we willing

to forego this part of our environment for commercial

gain. So it comes down to the community actually decides

those things but we're in a

position to provide that data.

Adrian Francis with that

report. Now Charles Roche from

the Northern Territory

environment centre join mes in

the studio to discuss the

future of development on the

Daly and this week's

announcement that Glyde Point

will be a conservation zone.

Welcome to the program. Thank

you. It is looking likely the Government will lift its ban on

land clearing in the Daly

region before the end of the

year, is sustainable

development possible on the

Daly? We're not sure yet. The

science is still out. As we've

just seen from the earlier

piece, there's a lot of good

research being done in the Daly

and we really should be waiting

for that research to finish

before any decision is made. The moratorium was

announced in 2003 and since

then two advisory glups have

been looking into the

sustainable development along

the Daly and the Daly River management advisory committee

has handed its first advice to

the Government in June this

year. That advice must have

contained some information that

persuaded the Government that sustainable development is

possible. I'm not sure. I

believe there was a lot of different feelings about that

report and what it contained

and the advise it gave to the

Government. You yourself had or

the environment centre had a

representative on the Daly

River management advise rr

committee? We do, Dr Stewart

blanche represents the

environment centre and WWF

Australia and he's been sitting

on that for some time. There

were many concerns about the

initial report that it was too

enthusiastic in its support for

land clearing. So I'm not really sure where the Government's coming from at

this point in time. Perhaps

it's more politically

motivated. Do you not want

irrigated agriculture on the

Daly at all? We're not saying thasmt we'd be very concerned

about any more land clearing or

a lot more water abstruction

from agriculture or

horticulture. What we'd really like is for the Government to

live up to the election

commits.. Until the water

monitoring system is in place.

There will be a new water act,

indeed world's best practice

water act and there would be

living rivers legislation that

would protect the river. What

is your limit on your view of

agricultural expansion in the

Top End given sit a hot topic

at the moment? It is a hot

topic and it seems many people

are prepared to advocate for a

lot of development. We really

don't know. We should be

caution. We know what happened

when we overcleerd and overused

the water down south. We really

should be using the

precautionary principle,

waiting for the research and then tXen maCing

then making a very considered

judgment in several year's

time. If we turn to the harbour

now, the Chief Minister

declared glooit Point a

conservation zone this week s

that something you've been

campaigning for for a long

time. Are you happyiour now

that it looks likely that

middle arm in Darwin harbour instead will become an

industrial hub? I'd like to commend the Government on

protecting Glyde Point. It is

an posht area for conservation.

Sit a great decision to protect

it. I don't believe it follows

that once we've protected Glyde

Point that we then need to over

develop the Darwin harbour.

We're keen to see the Darwin harbour developed in a very

sensitive fashion both for the

environment and for the Darwin

residents and indeed - Ario

opposed to industrial

development on Middle

Island? We'd like to see the

minimal amount toff development that there can be and believe

the Government should look at

locating most of the processing

that would occur with that

development back out of the

harbour so inland basically and

just using the harbour for

transporting goods. Of course

the project that everyone's

talking about at the moment is

hardly minimal. It's the Dow

chemical plant that's valued at

about $3 billion that could

employ 4,000 people during the

construction phase. Now with a

project of that size at stake,

can we afford to say no to an

opportunity like that if the go

ahead's given for Middle Island. Perhaps we should ask

the resident of Darwin and say

would you rather look out on

that big gas plant on Middle

Arm or would you prefer it was located several kilometres

inland and all you saw was a

port instead. I think most

Territory people would say no

let's keep the harbour with

minimal development, let's use

it as a port and we'll process

rare earths and chemicals

inland. Thank you very much for

joining u us. Thank you.

The Federal Immigration

Minister is underfire for

saying African refugee,

particularly those from Sudan,

have problems settling into

Australia. Mr Andrews said

concerns about race based gangs

and crime and tensions within

the African community were part

of the reason why Australia

will accept 40% fewer African

refugees this year. The

Minister's comments are now

Rights Commissioner. Sudanese being investigated by the Human

refugees make up the largest African refugee community in the Territory. They say they're

law abiding, hard working members of Australian society

and they want Mr Andrews to

revise his decision. Crift fer

Louis and his family arrived in

Darwin three years ago. He was

born many southern Sudan but

fled to Uganda as a young child

to es Kate a bloody civil war

that killed nearly 2 million

people. Crift fer Louis was

raised and educated in a

refugee camp. Life in Australia

is different from the life in

the refugee camps. Of course

here one is able to work and do

some other things for one self.

Pay your rent, you go to school

and do a lot more than in the

camp. Since arriving in Darwin,

Christopher Louis has started

studying law, helped set up a

security company and had his

first child. But settling in

has been challenging at time.

He says he's been discriminated

against in the workplace and at

first people had trouble

understanding his English. And

some aspects of Australian life

have taken a bit of getting

used to. I was like expecting

my wife to do everything in the

house. So I was sort of having

that cultural. So I can't know

go to the kitchen otherwise

your wife will tell you you are

robbing the kitchen from her.

Soy was finding it hard. But

later I found it very nice and

my wife will not tell me that,

go out of here otherwise you

are coming to destroy me me in

the kitchen. In August, the

Federal Government announced

that Australia's refugee in

take from Africa will be

reduced to 30%, while the

intake from the Middle East and

Asia will increase to around

35% each. The announcement

passed with little fan fare

until this week twhen

Immigration Minister Kevin

Andrews said the decision to

limit the number of African

refugees was partly because

they were failing to integrate

into Australian society. He

singled out the Sudanese and

said there's evidence of

African gang activity

particularly in Victoria. We

have detected that there have

been additional challenges in

relation to some of the people

that have come from Africa over

the last few years. Kevin Andrews says African refugees

are typically young, poorly educated men who have spent

most of their lives in war-torn

countries and overcrowded,

impoverished refugee camps. And

then on top of that, they have

the challenges of resettling in

a culture which is vastly

different to the one which they

came from. Modern Australia,

modern urban Australia largely,

is vastly different from the

conditions that people have

come from in many of the

countries, particularly in the

horn of Africa. Any person

that comes from a refugee

background coming here to

Darwin would come with their

own specialities and with their

challenges no matter where

people come from. Blaming

people for the experience they've been through is

probably not the right way to

go about it. Kevin Andrews says

the Government has invested an

additional $200 million to help refugees who are having trouble

adjusting to life in Australia.

refugees But those who work with

refugees say Australia's intake

should be based on need and not

ease of integration. We are not

talking about a scaled migrant

program. We are talking About

the humanitarian program and so

far Australia has been taking

the lead of the United Nations

like UNHCR to actually

determine what are the hot

spots and I think the UN HCR

would be able, because of their

knowledge and their prent

presence in those countries so

they would be able to judge

that situation the best, better

than the Australian

Government. Kristofer Louis is

association in the Northern the President of the Sudanese

Territory. They met this week

to discuss the comments and

they weren't happy. What sort

of integration does the

Minister mean because

particularly Sudanese here in

Darwin and Africa community at

large we are integrating very

well. We've got a lot of people

going to the university and a

lot of us are working full-time

job. You go to service areas,

you find our seed neez in the

nursing, you find us in the

supermarkets, you find us in

other departments, you find us

everywhere because we know what

it means to contribute in a

positive way. Sudanese refugees

began arriving in the Territory

in 2000. Since then about 500

have settle here. These members

of Darwin's Sudanese community

insist they've integrated well

and they're angry that the Minister's comments are based

on the behaviour of a few.

Even at the bus stop I was

sitting with shame because of

what the Minister has said. I

didn't feel comfort able

because of that an I know we

are not people of that kind. To

Jen ral ralise and to stop

bringing our loved ones here, I

think that is a hard call. I'm

already an Australian citizen,

I got my citizenship earlier

this year. This is my home and

this is my place to live and my

son is already a citizen. We're

going to stay here. This is our

home. And that's the program.

We'll leave you with David

Campbell, the man labelled

Australia's king of swing joins

the Territory's own Jessica

Mauboy on stage at the Darwin

Entertainment Centre.See you

next week.

(Sings) # Could be it be the

boy done something right

# Oh, give me daper # You

Closed Captions by CSI

CC Tonight, the states

fight back. The Queensland

Premier attacks the Federal

Government over itsphoresis on

refugees from Africa. --

freeze. It's been a long time

since I've heard such a pure

form of racism out of the mouth

of any Australian

politician. Tony Abbott under

fire as evidence shows the

states spend more on health

than the Commonwealth. We have

been increasing our spending

but the states since 2001 have

been increasing their spending

faster. That's why our spending

as a proportion of the total

has slightly declined.

Good evening. Welcome to

Lateline. I'm Virginia Trioli.

As we stumble towards a long

awaited federal election,

Australia's intellectuals have

taken to their prospective

corners. In the red corner are

the entrench ed Howard Haters

and in the blue corner the

champions of the new political

order. Which of our

intellectuals are just a bunch

of second-rate mind apparently

ill serving Australia's

first-rate leaders? I think at

the end of the day their

analysis is not good enough. I think the task of

intellectualicise to clarify,

inform, enlighten and guide

public debate in an effective

and intelligent way and I think

if a too often, what we get is

a polemic. I think there is a

real xorment I think it's a

left-right argument, as you

said, and I think it's about

those intellectuals like myself

and David Marr and many others

like Julian who think the

Howard Government in many ways

has done great damage to this

country. Later we'll be join by

'The Australian''s Paul Kelly