Independent Peer Review: A Fork in the River

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An independent peer review was commissioned by the Northern Territory Government on our report, A Fork in the River – the consequences of a major new cotton industry in the Northern Territory, which warns that the establishment of a major cotton industry in the Northern Territory could jeopardise Top End river systems.

The review found the report to be sound and fundamentally supported by the references used.

See media coverage here.

The review concluded that it is “vital that the best available data/information be utilised in the decision-making process” when it comes to decisions concerning the development of Northern Australia, and “in cases where insufficient data/information are available, that the appropriate investigations are conducted in an open and transparent way to support the decision making process”.

Read more about our report.

Read the recommendations from the Fork in the River report:

  • Place a moratorium on new water licences and allocations and cap extractions at current levels in the Daly and Roper river catchments.
  • Protect vital ecological processes by prohibiting large-scale extraction of flood waters in the Northern Territory.
  • Undertake integrated catchment planning with a priority focus on maintaining the health of NT’s rivers and protecting their environmental and cultural values. Accord strict protection to largely intact rivers.
  • Enact reforms to prioritise the public interest and increase public trust in government decision-making.
  • Ensure that environmental impact assessment processes related to freshwater resources fully address cumulative and indirect impacts of proposed developments.
  • In recognition of the limited science to inform decisions about large-scale cotton farming, apply the precautionary principle in a meaningful way to prevent irreversible harm.