Water is vitally important to all Territorians, and the nature we love. Territorians understand this, are willing to stand up for it, and want their Government to do much more to safeguard our water futures.
In April 2021, the Gunner Government granted the most controversial licence in the Territory’s history, gifting 40 billion litres of water a year to a company for a massive agricultural development south of Tennant Creek. There was a public outcry, including because the developer would get this water for free and then be able to trade it for profit, while Indigenous communities do not have the most basic legal protections for their drinking water.
Environmental groups and the Central Land Council have challenged the licence using the review provisions under the Water Act, including on the basis that the grant of this huge licence breached the water allocation plan for the region. A final decision on the review has not yet been made.
Now the Gunner Government wants to bring in laws that will undermine this legal challenge before it’s even heard. Proposed changes to the Water Act will strip away review rights, put more power in the hands of the Water Controller, and water down the legal requirement that water licences must comply with water allocation plans. You can read more about the proposed amendments in our fact sheet, here.
Changing the law to protect huge developers from legal scrutiny isn’t acceptable to Territorians, and shouldn’t be to our politicians.
The Gunner Government’s proposed changes will take the Territory’s water laws backwards. The changes wind back already weak protections and remove scrutiny over management of our most precious resource. Not only that, they’re being pushed through urgently without public consultation or the proper scrutiny of any parliamentary committee, and may be passed as early as August 2021.
Act now. These laws could be passed as early as 11 August 2021. Tell our politicians to stand up to the Government to stop them from slashing scrutiny of the Territory’s water management.
This isn’t the way to carry out important reform about something all Territorians care so deeply about.
ECNT is calling for any amendments to the Water Act to be put on hold until the Gunner Government’s promised water security strategy is finalised, and the Gunner Government has legislated for safe drinking water protections for all Territorians.
Sign the petition to call on the Government to reverse course, the opposition to oppose this bill and for all Territory politicians to listen to community calls for openness, scrutiny and transparency for our water laws.
By signing this petition you are providing Environment Centre NT with your details. We will use these signatories to provide E Lawler, N Fyles, S Uibo, L Finocchiaro, B Yan, S Edgington, J Hersey, R Lambley, Y M Guyula and other relevant parties with a list of supporters.