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Tuesday, 16 February 1971
Page: 15


Mr CALDER (NORTHERN TERRITORY) - I address my question to the Minister for the Interior. I remind him that last year the Government said that it was setting up a joint study group consisting of Commonwealth officials and elected members of the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory to examine in detail the possibility of increasing the Tole of elected members in the administration of State-like activities in the Northern Territory. Can the Minister tell the House why nothing further has been heard of this move towards giving people of the Northern Territory a greater say in their own affairs?


Mr HUNT - I am well aware of the interest of the honourable member in the Northern Territory Legislative Council and its functions. I remind him that after talks between the former Minister for the Interior and representatives of the Legislative Council in Canberra during June 1970 the Government agreed to set up a committee to investigate the possible further involvement of the Legislative Council in the State-like activities in the Northern Territory. The Legislative Council requested further talks with my predecessor and the Government replied that a study was necessary before further talks should take place at ministerial level.

I am sure that the honourable member for the Northern Territory will be pleased to know that I have been advised today by the Administrator of the Northern Territory that the elected members of the Legislative Council have nominated 5 representatives to meet Commonwealth officers to begin discussions. The Government is awaiting the results of a serious study of the possibility of further involvement of the Legislative Council, within the limitations of the financial position of the Northern Territory and its administrative resources, and in the light of the Commonwealth's special concern for the Northern Territory and its people. I am sure that the elected members of the Northern Territory Legislative Council and the Commonwealth Government will do everything possible to have a comprehensive study made of the problem.







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