LAKE BONNEY

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS ( 15:10 :14 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation a question regarding the proposed dual naming of Barmera's Lake Bonney.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: The First Peoples of the River Murray and Mallee Region native title group recently requested that Lake Bonney in the Riverland be given the dual Indigenous name of Barmerara. The Berri Barmera Council was asked by the state government for input on this request, and during its public deliberations on the matter a number of councillors stated that constituents had advised them that the lake was also traditionally known as Nookamka. Since there were conflicting views on the subject, the council eventually resolved to ask for consultation with the wider community on the potential dual naming. However, an article in The Murray Pioneer on 25 July this year entitled 'Bye Bye Barmerara' stated that the title originally chosen as a potential dual name for the lake had been abandoned in favour of Lake Bonney Riverland/Barmera as locals disagreed on the most accurate traditional Indigenous name for the lake.

According to a spokesperson from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, discussions between the local council, that is, the Berri Barmera Council, and the First Peoples of the River Murray and Mallee native title group resulted in an agreement to drop the 'ra' suffix. With this agreement the department advised that a notice of intent will be published shortly inviting further public consultation for a 28-day period. My questions are:

1.Given some local disagreement over the most accurate Indigenous name for the lake, will the minister advise why the name Nookamka was not considered as part of the original public consultation process?

2.Will the minister confirm when the decision was taken to drop the 'ra' suffix from the name and who took that decision?

3.Will the minister advise the council what form the further public consultation will take, when this further consultation with the local community will commence, and what role his agency will play in that, if any?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 15:12 :43 ): I was prepared to answer that question, but the level of detail the honourable member seeks is beyond my capabilities at the present time, so I will undertake to get a fuller response to him and take that question on notice.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS ( 15:12 :57 ): A supplementary, sir. I think the minister has given me enough to ask that now that the dual name put forward for the lake for further public consultation is essentially that of the surrounding town and region, will the minister concede the original goal to give the lake a dual Indigenous name is now lost and perhaps the overall process has been pointless?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 15:13 :27 ): I will not concede such a thing. Dual naming is an exercise where the community, particularly in relation to native title determinations, for example, pays respect to the heritage of the First Peoples of this country and this state. Dual naming is a very important part of this covenant we enter into particularly, again, around native title determinations and native title claimants. Aboriginal communities take great comfort from the fact that local communities, particularly in rural and regional areas, want to embrace the heritage and the history of their local area by including native names for local landmarks as a dual naming prospect. It is also, I understand, a particularly good way of targeting international tourists as well but, putting that aside, I think it shows great respect.

Whilst the process might have been drawn out on this particular occasion and has obviously drawn different points of view on the title (Barmerara might get some people a little bit upset), that is not something for us to determine, it is not something for parliament to determine, it is for the local communities to determine, and I never think it is a waste of time to take local communities into our confidence and have adequate and responsible consultation with them. That is what the process was all about; that is what the process will be into the future.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS ( 15:15 :02 ): I have a further supplementary question. Will the minister agree that the title 'Lake Bonney Riverland/Barmera' has no significance at all to the Indigenous people?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 15:15 :15 ): I will not presume to speak on behalf of the local Indigenous people. That advice is for them to give the rest of the community.