On 30 July 2021 Environment Centre NT made a submission to the Pastoral Land Board in relation to the streamlined application to clear pastoral land on Claravale Station.
A summary of the submission is below or download the full submission here.
ECNT is extremely concerned by the rate of increase in land clearing applications and approvals in the Northern Territory, particularly in the Daly and Katherine catchments. The PLB considered applications for 21,700 hectares of land clearing in 2020, more than double the area approved for clearing in 2019, and more than ten times the area approved in 2018. The PLB approved 12,900 hectares of clearing were approved in 2020 with applications for a further 8,800 hectares of clearing held over pending further information. In 2021 so far, an application for 4,100 hectares of clearing is under assessment pending further information. ECNT understands that this is likely to be the start of an avalanche of applications. The NT Farmers Association has revealed plans for 168,000 hectares of farming development across the Northern Territory focused particularly on the Daly catchment, which will not only increase the Northern Territory’s greenhouse gas emissions significantly, but also require millions of litres of the Northern Territory’s groundwater and surface water, as well as exacerbating the impacts of climate change (through increased heat and changes to the water table from clearing and irrigation).
The Pastoral Land Act is not fit for purpose to protect the Northern Territory’s pastoral estate from habitat fragmentation and damage on the vast scale that is underway, and being proposed. The Northern Territory is completely unprepared to respond to the environmental threats posed by the proposed large-scale agricultural development in a wider context of ecological and climate collapse, with piecemeal regulatory approvals that frustrate any attempts to strategically assess the likely cumulative impacts of these developments instead the norm. Urgent regulatory reform is needed so that landscape scale integrated protection and management of the Northern Territory’s unique savannas and freshwater systems can occur.
Given the presence of a number of threatened species in the application area, the important populations of the Partridge Pigeon and Ghost Bat in particular, and the high vulnerability of threatened species to multiple threatening processes in the Application area, the Application should:
- be rejected and resubmitted as a standard application as it does not comply with the simplified pastoral land clearing guidelines; and
- be referred for assessment under both the Environment Protection Act NT and EPBC Act.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Kirsty Howey on [email protected].
Attachment 1 - Risk of Agricultural Clearing in the Top End - Map
Attachment 2 - Cumulative Vulnerability - Ghost Bat
Attachment 3 - Cumulative Vulnerability - Gouldian Finch
Attachment 4 - Cumulative Vulnerability - Eastern Partridge Pigeon - Map
Attachment 5 - Cumulative Vulnerability - Mapping Notes
Please contact [email protected] for a higher resolution versions of attachments 1-3.