The capital city Darwin is surrounded by the waters of the Harbour, providing a beautiful backdrop to the daily lives of local and the centerpiece of the tourist experience. The scale of the proposed Middle Arm industrial development will dwarf anything we’ve seen before and this submission outlines concerns that we will witness unprecedented impacts and decline to the Harbour’s values. We must invite only clean, sustainable, and genuinely renewable industries into our coastal backyard and refuse the proposed petrochemical industries, not only for our Harbour, but also to not accelerate climate change.
Protecting Darwin Harbour: for our future, not heavy industry.
The capital city 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 providing healthy food in the fish and crabs caught by many fishers and their families. It’s a centrepiece for the tourist experience and for the Larrakia saltwater people, the Traditional Owners of the Darwin region, all aspects of social, cultural, and economic life are intimately connected to their coastal lands and seas. The Northern Territory’s coastal environments, like the Harbour, the beauty and the bounty it provides, are at the heart of the Top End way of life, central to economic success and to our shared futures.
The Top End fishing experience - a magnet for tourism - sits at the core of our local livelihoods as one of the Territory’s most important economic and cultural pursuits. A recent report found the Territory’s coastal waters support more than 6000 jobs and contribute $2billion annually to the economy. These jobs are reliant on the Territory’s coasts remaining healthy.
The health of Darwin Harbour is vital to the Territory’s future and identity. The Harbour has been under increasing pressure from a range of industrial and urban developments for some time. Community concerns about these impacts have spawned government attempts to safeguard the health of the Harbour, but they have lacked strategic oversight, adequate implementation and funding. As a result, we have failed to protect the Harbour and its environmental, cultural, social and economic values. We are seeing signs of decline already. The scale of the proposed Middle Arm industrial development will dwarf anything we’ve seen before and we are concerned that we will witness unprecedented impacts and decline.
The Territory community expects their coastal backyard to be well managed and protected. We must heed the lessons of the past, and urgently put in place the necessary safeguards to ensure our enviable Top End lifestyle is protected for our children and grandchildren. We must invite only clean, sustainable, and genuinely renewable industries into our coastal backyard and refuse the proposed petrochemical industries, not only for our Harbour, but also to not accelerate climate change. We must begin work to return our Harbour to health.
The Northern Territory has lagged behind all other Australian states with its glaring lack of marine conservation and protected areas. With limited protected areas across the Territory coast, protection of Darwin Harbour is even more important. Territory Labor’s commitment to establish the next protected area, together with the financial support from the Federal Labor government, is welcome and we must get on with the job without delay.
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