A very warm welcome to Darwin's newest residents: the Gouldian Finches of Lee Point.
Right now, bulldozers are descending on Lee Point to clear 110 hectares of land for defence housing but, miraculously, flocks of Gouldian Finches have just been spotted in the area.
Contact the Federal Environment Minister now to call for a halt to clearing.
The Gouldian Finch is an Endangered species (listed under the EPBC Act) and people come from all over the world to spot this unique creature. Now, it has been found in the suburbs of Darwin. We can’t let its habitat be bulldozed.
When the approvals to clear the land were given under federal environment legislation, they were given on the basis that Gouldian Finches don’t breed or feed in the area.
But now, hundreds of Gouldian Finches have been sighted in the area, including juveniles. Minister Plibersek needs to intervene to re-assess the approvals in light of this development.
Sign the petition to save Gouldian Finch habitat and our beloved Lee Point.
Image credit: Tobias Akesson
Dear Minister Plibersek
I am glad you enjoyed your time at Kakadu National Park, and I am delighted to let you know that right across the Territory there exist many sites of immense ecological and cultural significance.
The Territory has coveted natural and cultural value, that many believe should be protected and celebrated.
But much of the Territory’s cherished environment is under threat, with an extinction crisis looming, and the Northern Savanna facing ecosystem collapse. This is why it was so special when, in May this year, hundreds of beloved, endangered Gouldian Finches were spotted at Lee Point, in the suburbs of Darwin.
Lee Point is a beloved bird watching and tourist destination on Larrakia country, home to hundreds of bird, mammal, plant and marine species—but it is under threat from clearing.
The community has been leading a campaign to Save Lee Point from the development, proposed by Defence Housing Australia, who want to clear approximately 110 hectares of land and construct residential housing, including 200-250 apartments.
In 2014, the Project was referred for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) and in March 2019, was approved by the then-Assistant Secretary to the Minister for Environment, subject to certain conditions.
But with the arrival of the endangered species, the Gouldian Finch, the environmental context of Lee Point has changed quite miraculously.
Recent records show that between fifty and one hundred Gouldian finches have been sighted regularly at Lee Point in June 2022. Hundreds of individuals have flocked to see Darwin's newest residents, the Gouldian Finches of Lee Point.
Gouldian Finches are listed under the EPBC Act as endangered and therefore would be significantly impacted by the destruction of their newfound habitat.
There is clear evidence of a large number of Gouldian finches present within the Project area. This information was not before the Minister when the decision to approve the Project was made.
The Approval (and the conditions attached to it) would not have been granted if that information had been available. In light of the new information, we request that you:
a. Exercise your power under sections 144 to suspend the Approval; and
b. Consider the presence of the threatened species at Lee Point; and
c. Exercise your powers under section 145 to revoke the Approval. Or in the alternative, exercise your powers under section 143 to vary the conditions outlined in the Approval to avoid potential risks to the Gouldian finch as a result of the Project.
You have an opportunity early in your tenure as Federal Minister for the Environment to engage with a local issue that has been close to thousands of Territorians’ hearts. By revoking the approval, you can take meaningful action to remedy the alarming state of environmental decline in Australia.
We look forward to seeing you intervene to protect a beloved community location and a treasured endangered bird species.