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Saturday, 18 December 1993
Page: 5206

Senator CRANE (11.08 p.m.) —Before we close debate on this amendment, I have to put a couple of things on the public record. The first thing that I want to put on the public record—and I say this to the government and the Greens, and anyone else who might vote for it—is that this is an outrageous attack on Western Australia in terms of its capacity to develop.

Senator Chamarette —Ha, ha!

Senator CRANE —The honourable senator can smile smugly all she likes. I think most people know by now that Western Australia has about 40 per cent of the crown land in this country. This amendment will not only affect that development but I believe it will affect a lot of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia to their detriment. It is going to stop growth, where there is an opportunity for growth. It is going to have an impact on the mining industry. It is going to have a serious impact on the development of the Ord River. It is going to make it virtually impossible for the allocation of any more pastoral leases in Western Australia. It is going to make it almost impossible, if ever the need arose, for the development of what is known as the Johnston Lakes area in Western Australia. This has been identified as one of the few areas left in the world suitable for agriculture but it was not developed at that particular time. I have to say to the government and to Senator Chamarette and Senator Margetts that they might think tonight that they are going to have a victory, but that victory will be at a cost. The cost will be the economic wellbeing of all Western Australians.

Senator Kernot —What about the indigenous people?

Senator CRANE —Senator Kernot can mumble all she likes. Indigenous people enjoy the development and the wealth which are created. Maybe she should go across and talk to some of the elders, as I have done in Western Australia. It might help if Senator Kernot hops down in her appropriate seat before interjecting and I see her mumbling with her hand all over her mouth.

  I just want to put on the public record that this particular act done on the run tonight is going to have serious implications for the living standards of all Australians, indigenous people and others who have come later. The minister has made this decision on the run tonight. It is a decision that he will regret, and I am sure that if he had run this past his resource ministers they would not be agreeing with him.