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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 1122


Mr CHYNOWETH —by leave-I had the pleasure and the honour of going to the Kimberleys with the Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation to view this most unique and magnificent area of Australia. From the outset we did not know what to expect to see there. We flew over Lake Argyle, a huge dam which is going to waste. This area of water, which contains nine and a half times the volume of Sydney Harbour, is sitting there with nothing do do. It is a shame the dam was built and nothing is being done about the use of the water there at the moment.

The proper management of this area is most important. Steps were taken by the Committee to look at the area to make certain that management plans are set in place before this tourist treasure becomes known to the world. It is tucked away in a fairly inaccessible area, which is probably good for it at the moment. That means it is extremely hard for people to get to it and, therefore, it will not be ruined. I trust that the report will give impetus to those who will manage this area to look after it properly when it is opened up.

In one of the areas we visited in the Bungle Bungle there was a huge waterfall which went into an extremely deep canyon and wound away into the desert. The Aboriginal people accompanying us and showing us this area were quite afraid of this particular waterfall. If one looked at the waterfall as it wound down through the red and white rocks and the green gum trees, one could see a definite rainbow of mist. This was the place of the dreaming time of the rainbow serpent. I could see it there. From the feelings these people expressed in this particular area, one could appreciate their deep and sensitive feelings for this particular area. It is a magnificent area.

I am glad that it is away from traffic and I am glad that it is hard for people to get to. I trust that people will not go there at the moment but will keep away from it until it is properly managed and organised. A few tourist operators have already been there, and one can see the tracks where the buses have gone through the desert to get there. Only a dozen or a couple of dozen tourist parties have been there, and I trust that other people will not go there for some time. It is an area that should be protected and this is the first step in protecting it.