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Early legislation to protect Alligator Rivers region



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Tuesday 24 January, 1978.

MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, HOUSING AND .

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Canberra A.C.T.

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EARLY LEGISLATION TO PROTECT ALLIGATOR RIVERS REGION

The Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development, Mr Ray Groom, said today that the preparation of legislation for the protection of the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory "was well in hand. I expect the

legislation will be ready for introduction in the coming session".

The legislation would ensure close supervision of mining activities in the Region. Mr Groom was speaking in Melbourne before leaving for a familiarisation tour of the Alligator Rivers Region. ,

The legislation would provide for the formal establishment of the Office of the Supervising Scientist, the Co-ordinating Committee and a' Research Institute.

Preliminary work associated with the Office of the Supervising Scientist has been in hand for some months, through the secondment of Mr Robert Fry, a senior scientist, to the . Department of Environment, Housing and Community Development. A temporary field laboratory with accommodation is being built

in the Region to provide a base for detailed study of a number of aspects of the local environment. A start has been made on some of these studies. '

Further legislation would amend the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act to make it possible for Stage I Of . the Kakadu National Park to be proclaimed promptly. This would complement legislation that is well advanced to amend the

Aboriginal Land Rights Act to make it possible for Aboriginal land to be incorporated within the National Park.

Mr Groom said work was also well advanced on preparing a Commonwealth Act under which national codes of practice could be established .for all future nuclear activity in Australia. These included health matters, transportation, and all aspects of mining and milling of uranium. '

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The Director of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Professor Ovington, is actively proceeding vzith the management plan for the first stage proclamation of the Kakadu National Park. Six working parties have been established

representing the different interests involved in the development of the Park.'

The principles for management proposed in this plan would be followed in the second stage of the Park, which was at present under Commonwealth control, through the four responsible Departments - Environment, Housing and Community

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Development, Trade and Resources, Aboriginal Affairs and -Northern Territory. This second stage area would be proclaimed under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act later.

V Mr Groom stressed the significant role of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. He said the views of the Assembly would be crucial to the on-going decisions for the future management and protection of the Kakadu National Park.

Mr Groom said that the Commonwealth would continue to co-operate and consult with the Assembly. "I am looking forward to meeting the elected members and making field inspections of the Alligator Rivers Region during my Northern Territory tour this week". .

"I also hope to meet representatives of the Northern Land Council, in Darwin." ■ . . .