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Tuesday, 21 December 1993
Page: 5365

Senator COLLINS (Minister for Transport and Communications) (9.50 a.m.) —With respect, we really are going around the track now for the fourth or fifth time. I do not disagree with the position that Senator Panizza is putting. It does not make any difference what the particular nature of the alternative piece of land might be, whether it is privately owned property or whether it is publicly owned property. The situation is that this option cannot be forced on people. It is purely something which is provided in a positive sense rather than in a negative sense as an alternative means of resolving a situation of potential difficulty. That is where the parties agree—and this would commonly happen—that non-monetary compensation would be more appropriate. The opportunity for that is provided for explicitly in the legislation. I assure Senator Panizza that, in my view, that would be the best result in determining these issues, and certainly in my own experience in the Northern Territory it is often the result.

  I am not suggesting that these negotiations are always easy. They can be difficult and they can be protracted. But even though the arrangements leading up to those non-monetary agreements might be difficult and protracted and perhaps even bitter at times, once they are put into place, I have found that the fact that an agreement was reached has formed a pretty substantial base for amicable relationships to exist thereafter.

Senator Panizza —It is better than having a court impose one.

Senator COLLINS —I agree absolutely with Senator Panizza. I could not say it better than that. Perhaps we can move on to the next clause.