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Minister congratulates N.T. on achievements in less than a year of self government

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MINISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. E M. Chaney .' · .

The Commonwealth Government's faith in the Northern Territory had been vindicated by what had been achieved in less than a year of self government, Senator Fred Chaney said in Darwin today. The Northern Territory was to be congratulated for grasping the nettle

and getting on with the job.

Senator Chaney was representing the Prime Minister at the Annual General Conference of the Country Liberal Party, ’

"The grant of self government for the Northern Territory was an outstanding example of applying principles to political action. .

Few would have predicted the commitment to self government which Malcolm Fraser gave on behalf of the opposition parties in 1975. At that time there were many sceptics.

That commitment, which resulted in self government in 1978, arose directly out of a fundamental Liberal principle that Government should be as close to the people as possible.

That is what we mean when we say we believe in the devolution of power, it was a real act of faith. .

Self government for the Northern Territory was not the easy way for the Commonwealth.

It would have been easy to keep political decision making in Canberra. ■

But self government is the right way, the way Liberals believe it should be done."

Senator Chaney said that he believed there were clear signs that self government'unleashed new energy in the Northern Territory. The Country Liberal Party, had the responsibility to live up to the faith which had been shown in them by the people of the Northern Territory in the last election. ' .

The people of the Northern Territory would also need to have faith in themselves and their own community. Many problems in the community could not be solved by Government, whether in Canberra or in Darwin. They had to be solved by the people themselves. Our Parties believe people solve problems.

ENDS, DARWIN, 2 June, 1979 79/40