News & updates

  • Jul, 2022

    Greatest threat to our rivers revealed in State of the Environment report

    Our national report card is in and it’s grim – but it’s not too late to save our rivers

    Last week, Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek released the 2021 State of the Environment Report – detailing the poor and deteriorating health of Australia’s natural environment.

    If we’ve learned anything from this report, it’s that Territorians like yourself have a unique opportunity to ensure our rivers and environment prosper into the future. But it’s going to take all of us working together to do more.

    Don’t let our Top End rivers become a statistic in future reports – tell the NT Government to protect our rivers and floodplains.

    Nature in Australia is under more pressure than ever – and our rivers, heritage and native species are seriously suffering. It’s also a dire warning that the greatest threat facing rivers is the extraction of surface water and groundwater.

    Here are some key findings from the report:
    • Rivers and catchments are mostly in poor condition, and native fish populations have declined by more than 90 per cent in the past 150 years.
    • The greatest threat to freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity is changes to river and stream flows due to surface water and groundwater extraction primarily for agriculture.
    • Half of Australian freshwater turtle species are currently listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered.
    • Destruction of Indigenous heritage is occurring at an unacceptable rate.
    These results are shocking and make it very clear that we need to protect our Territory rivers such as the Daly, Roper, Adelaide and Victoria from big irrigation projects.

    We’re expecting very soon to see the NT Government release details of a dangerous plan that would open up our rivers and floodplains to the same cotton industry players from the dying Murray Darling – putting our Territory fishing, tourism and lifestyle at risk. If this plan goes ahead, it will lead to a rush of new dams on creeks and more water being taken from our rivers.

    This report is the wake up call that those in power in Darwin need to listen to – it’s a clear message from experts that it’s now or never.

    Tell the NT Government to protect our rivers and floodplains.

    The Northern Territory is home to special, healthy, free-flowing rivers. We’ve seen the damage done to the Murray Darling, but it’s not too late to protect our Territory rivers.

    Let’s keep our rivers flowing.

    Learn more

  • Sep, 2021
    Credit: Jason Fowler

    Daly by-election Sept 11

    The Northern Territory electorate of Daly is facing a by-election on September 11, and local residents are asking candidates to make a pledge for our rivers and for the communities that rely on them. 

    Territorians know how much our rivers and water mean to our future – that’s why we must look after them. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the Murray Darling. Our rivers are too important – we need to do much more to look after them, and that starts with the candidates putting their hands up to represent Daly.

    Learn more

  • Jul, 2021
    Credit: iStock

    Unsatisfactory public consultation for new Adelaide River dam plans

    As a member of the Territory Rivers: Keep ’em Flowing alliance, the Environment Centre NT wishes to raise a number of significant concerns relating to the lack of meaningful consultation opportunity available for Territorians in the Darwin Future Water Supply – Have Your Say that began on Tuesday 13 July.

    Territorians value our unique natural environment and the lifestyle that it sustains. The Adelaide River is iconic for Territorians of all backgrounds, for fishing, for culture, for tourism, for jobs and for its wildlife and wetlands. Adelaide River is a town – a community, but more importantly it’s the iconic, winding river that really makes the Top End tick. Its fishing, tourism, wildlife and hidden waterholes make it a hidden gem for Territorians in the know.

    Territorians have consistently shown their strong commitment to protect the health of iconic rivers and therefore opposed plans for large dams (or whatever else they may be referred to as) that would negatively impact these river flows and the communities that rely on them.

    We have the following concerns about this current process:

    • Insufficient public engagement timeframe: Less than two weeks for Territorians to participate in this survey. There is nothing more important to Territorians than water, these are complex matters that requires real active public engagement that goes beyond a limited tick-box survey.
    • No mention of drinking water: This survey does not provide an option for respondents to identify drinking water as a key reason for their engagement on this matter, instead focusing on large industrial/agricultural user needs.
    • No detailed maps of the proposal: It is difficult to obtain meaningful and well-informed responses from community members about these proposals without maps of the inundation areas being provided so Territorians can understand which landholders, businesses (such as tourism operators, fishing and aquaculture) and environmental values may be impacted.
    • No opportunity to respond to Detailed Business Case: Without this document being made publicly available Territorians are unable to see the case for these various water options being presented, ask questions and provide meaningful feedback.
    • No opportunity to provide broader feedback: This consultation limits respondents to two proposals and seeks to provide an illusion of choice. This is a false dichotomy – Territorians want safe drinking water, sustainable industries, and to safeguard the health of our rivers and floodplains for the future.

    It is for these reasons that the Environment Centre NT is not responding to this particular Have Your Say survey with less than a two-week timeframe for input. We welcome any opportunity for meaningful engagement in water decision-making, in securing drinking water for Territorians, water for our environment and for all of us for the long-term. This current process for the Adelaide River does not meet those criteria.

    The Environment Centre NT calls upon the Northern Territory Government to continue to fulfil its election commitment to restore trust in water decision-making with open, transparent and fair processes that allow for real public engagement at all levels, not a short survey provided limited options and even less details.

    Learn more

  • Jul, 2021

    Malak Malak guide to fishing the Daly

    Prior to European settlement the Daly River area was an important traditional meeting place for Aboriginal people to trade and hold ceremonies. The river comprises a broad range of rich and diverse habitats supporting a vast array of species such as migratory birds, native marsupials, reptiles and fish which in turn provide abundant resources for Traditional custodians and local Aboriginal communities.

    The traditional owners of the middle reaches of the Daly River and the surrounding area are the Malak Malak people, some of whom live in Nauiyu and in the downstream community of Wooliana.

    The Malak Malak welcome recreational fishers to their country and have put together this great guide on how to get the most fishing out of the Daly River. Recreational fishers should respect and recognise the cultural importance of these waters to the Malak Malak people.

    Learn more

  • Jul, 2021

    Get your own bumper sticker

    Want to show your support for Territory Rivers? Order your own bumper sticker and we’ll pop it in the mail for you.

    Learn more

  • Jul, 2021

    Kirsty on ABC Darwin Country Hour

    Did you hear Kirsty from our team on ABC Darwin‘s NT Country Hour yesterday? The NT Government have announced a public consultation on water policy in the Top End, but we’ve got a lot of concern about the detail (or lack of it) in this whole plan.

    We need to ensure that big decisions like how we manage our water into the future don’t impact on our fishing, the environment and our lifestyle.

    Learn more

  • Jul, 2021

    Jason reports from Daly River

    Jason from our team reports from the banks of the Daly River, where local members of the community are expressing their concerns about the health of the river.

    These communities rely on the river for culture, livelihoods and lifestyle – but they’re under threat from big business, who want to take huge amounts of water for large-scale operations like cotton. They don’t want to see what happened down south on the Murray Darling happen here.

    We need a different approach – one that works to keep our Territory rivers special. Let’s keep the Territory’s rivers flowing.

    Learn more

  • Jun, 2021

    Adrian – Daly River

    Adrian Koenen from Wooliana Tourist Park on the Daly River explains why the river is so important to his livelihood, and the health of the surrounding landscape.

    Our rivers are the special places that make the Top End lifestyle happen. They’re where we fish, we boat, we relax and we enjoy the unique Territory experience. But our rivers are under threat from big business, who want to take huge amounts of water for large-scale operations like cotton. We don’t want to see what happened down south on the Murray Darling happen up here.

    We need a different approach – one that works to keep our Territory rivers special. Let’s keep the Territory’s rivers flowing.

    Learn more

  • Jun, 2021

    A warning to the NT

    Rob McBride, a sixth generation farmer on Tolarno Station in NSW, has written to NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner asking him to reconsider the Government’s support for cotton and large-scale irrigation on Top End rivers.

    I am an Australian landholder and 6th generation farmer, and have seen our total river system be destroyed by greed and corruption. I please implore you to understand the greed and destruction of your rivers is imminent unless you stop the industry that will kill your children’s rivers for the future.

    The Darling Barka is now all but dying. The iconic majestic Murray Cod who have been in the system for 30 million years are being forced into extinction. Your government will face huge pressure by powerful people to justify the death of your rivers, as just development potential – this is not the case. In reality it will cause the death of the rivers for all Australians in the generations to come.

    Please look inside your hearts and mind ,and see what happened to the Aral Sea and the Darling Barka. Please say no to the destruction of your beautiful pristine environments.

    Rob McBride, letter to NT Chief Minister Gunner, 13 April 2021
    Learn more