Dear Minister Lawler,
Thank you for developing the Darwin Harbour Strategy. However, for this strategy to be effective, its Implementation Plan must be developed.
The Strategy itself outlines that it is only a guiding document and it requires a separate and detailed Implementation Plan to clearly define actions and responsibilities. Until this Implementation Plan is developed, the Harbour has an uncertain future.
Darwin is surrounded by the waters of the harbour, providing a beautiful backdrop to the daily lives of locals, a source of recreation and leisure, and supplying healthy food in the form of fish and crabs caught by many fishers and their families. It is a centrepiece for the tourist experience and facilitates the passage of many marine-based industries. Darwin has a unique coastal lifestyle worth protecting.
But our Harbour is facing growing pressures. Many Territorians have observed that things on the water are not as good as they used to be and the fishing is in decline. The new report by Keep Top End Coasts Healthy found that the Harbour’s health is declining due to the increasing pressure from a range of big industrial and urban developments, and the failure of successive governments to implement and adequately fund a Harbour-wide protection plan.
Action is needed to prevent further decline of Darwin Harbour’s health:
1.) The Darwin Harbour Strategy should be implemented without delay, including:
a.) Development of the Implementation Plan;
b.) A Strategic Environmental Assessment of Darwin Harbour, including Middle Arm;
c.) The development of an integrated and harbour-wide Dredge Management Plan, and
2.) That the NT Coastal and Marine Management Strategy be implemented - the Territory’s first ever plan to safeguard our Top End coasts.
As Territorians, we love our Harbour backyard. Let’s take care of our Harbour for current and future generations.