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Environment Centre NT - protecting nature, living sustainably, creating climate for a change

Stand up to protect our Top End rivers!

Territorians are proud of our Top End rivers

But now they are under threat from new dam proposals, and over-extraction.

We need your help to hold the NT Government account for its recent decisions to grant licences to extract very large amounts of water from the aquifers which feed the Daly, Katherine and Roper Rivers.

The government is still handing out large water licences despite the expressed concerns of the Environment Centre NT, community groups, fishers, farmers, the Northern Land Council and Traditional Owners about its current policy of granting long term licences without a water allocation plan in place.

We want our kids to enjoy the river just like we do today.

Have your say to Stand Up for our Top End Rivers

A reminder that you have until July 17 to have your say on the NT Government’s  ‘Our Water Future’ Discussion Paper.

The Environment Centre spoke out for protecting flows to Top End Rivers when the paper was launched at the Katherine Water Forum last month.

We have continued to highlight that a real conversation about the future management of our water resources cannot be held until the NT Government agrees to review the very large water licences issued to date within a fair and properly informed water planning process.

1. Write a submission to the NT Government’s Our Water Our Future Discussion Paper.

An example submission is available here.

2. Donate Now to our Stand Up to Protect Top End Rivers campaign

3. Sign the petition asking the NT Government to immediately instate proper water planning processes informed by best available science, community consultation and the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development.


Sawfish Credit pete kyne1

Victory for Top End Rivers

You may have heard the great news from May 29!

“The Northern Territory Supreme Court has today quashed the decisions of the Minister for Land Resource Management, Willem Westra Van Holthe, to grant 18 groundwater extraction licences from aquifers underpinning major tropical rivers, declaring those decision unlawful.”

In December 2014, the Environment Centre NT, represented by the Environmental Defenders Office NT, decided to take legal action challenging decisions which allowed huge amounts of water to be legally extracted from the Oolloo and Tindall (Mataranka) aquifers, which critically feed the Daly, Katherine and Roper Rivers.

The Court found that the Minister had acted unlawfully in the process of upholding the Water Controller’s decisions to grant the licences. See our media comments here.

“Those decisions were made outside of the nationally accepted processes for granting water licences and, while it wasn’t an easy decision, we decided we had to fight, and we continue to fight, every way we can to stand up for Top End Rivers,” said Environment Centre NT Chairperson Tony Young.

The legal action was supported in the media by the Northern Land Council and Traditional Owners of the Daly River Region and the Mataranka Region, who were concerned about the health of the river systems and the decision to scrap the previous Strategic Indigenous Reserve policy. The Amateur Fishers Association NT, NT Cattleman’s Association and many members of the community have since come forward to welcome the decision, which is a landmark case for the NT.

The Federal Government has cut all funding to EDO’s across Australia, and the NT Government has cut all funding to the Environment Centre NT. We could not have held the NT Government to account on its water management decisions without your support -– whether it be making a donation, writing a letter to the editor or signing the petition, available here. Thank you.

But there is little reprieve, with governments allocating millions for dams

Recently the Federal Government announced it would allocate millions to dam iconic rivers across the north. See our comments here.

We are now asking supporters like you to give what they can to allow the Environment Centre to continue to speak out strongly for protection of our Top End Rivers from short-sighted development proposals and political agendas.

Please, make a donation or become a regular donor to give us some financial certainty going into the next financial year.

Thank you for your passion and commitment to the Environment Centre NT. Together, we will continue to stand with you as a strong voice for the environment.

The Daly River

Home to the Barra Nationals fishing comp, great camping spots and vital to the livelihoods of farmers and its Indigenous communities, the Daly is one of our most loved rivers.
Without groundwater the Daly would dry up each year and the barramundi, sooty grunter and other water life could die.

But now the NT government has issued water licences that allow 68GL of water to be sucked out of the Daly, mostly to grow tree plantations.

This could cut the flow of the Daly, hurting local farmers, businesses, fishers and Traditional Owners, as well as the river’s unique environment.

The Roper River

Thousands of tourists travel each year to visit spring country at Mataranka, including sacred sites such as Bitter Hot Springs.

Spring water flows down the Roper River, keeping it flowing all through the dry season.

The Roper River is a popular fishing destination, flowing into Limmen National Park.

For Mangarrayi Traditional Owners, this spring water is vital to maintaining important sacred sites and fishing areas.

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