UPDATE: Cotton industry continues to clear land!

1 Nov 2021


Two weeks ago, I contacted you about a big cotton project pushing ahead just outside of Katherine. This industrial-scale facility is the first step towards a large-scale cotton industry which could devastate our Territory rivers.

Well, now it looks like it’s even worse – and so far nothing has been done to stop it.

Satellite imagery showed us last week that land clearing was already underway just outside Katherine, for a massive cotton gin at Tarwoo Station – before the government had even assessed the planning application!

Today, updated satellite images have revealed even more land has been cleared – almost three hectares!

Satellite imagery 23 October 2021: Showing more land clearing at the cotton gin facility
We will be making a formal complaint to the NT Government, urging them to investigate. But we need your help to convince them to act.

We need strong voices now. It’s critical that the full environmental impact of the proposed cotton gin and the associated expansion of the cotton industry are rigorously assessed, before it’s too late.
We are increasingly concerned that it appears the cotton industry can’t be trusted to follow even the basic rules that we have in place to protect our landscapes and river systems. It’s time for the NT Government to restore that trust, by investigating this project properly, before the impacts start to reach our riverbanks. It would be devastating to see a repeat of the same mistakes as the Murray-Darling. 

Thanks for all you are doing to keep our rivers safe. I hope we can all continue to enjoy the Top End lifestyle well into the future. Our rivers, fishing and local communities are too important to risk.

Lori Martin and the Territory Rivers – Keep ‘Em Flowing team


15 Oct 2021

BREAKING: Cotton industry clearing land before government approval


My name is Lori. I’m lucky enough to have lived on a rural block in the Top End for more than 30 years. Like you, I appreciate how special our Territory lifestyle is – particularly our access to iconic free-flowing rivers like the Daly, Victoria and Roper. These rivers are the lifeblood of our Territory way of life – they’re places that we relax, unwind, cast a line and enjoy the serenity.

But these river systems are coming under pressure like never before. Clearing has already started on a block of land just outside Katherine, for a massive cotton gin at Tarwoo Station – all before the government has even assessed the company’s planning application!

I know this because I live right next to the planned location for the gin, but I was also shocked to see clear proof via satellite images* that show land clearing and construction already underway.

Satellite imagery: 3 October 2021 – showing cotton gin facility under construction

Will you help me by sharing this info with your friends, family and neighbours?

This is only the start. The cotton industry has made it clear that the cotton gin is crucial to their plans for massive expansion of cotton production in the Top End. 

I’m deeply concerned about the industry’s expansion plan — if allowed to proceed, it will lead to massive clearing of native vegetation and new demands for water from our rivers and floodplains. And it all starts with the cotton gin. 

The cotton gin is backed by industry players from the Murray Darling, who see the Territory as their next big project. 

I’m standing up and so are many other Territorians. It’s critical that the NT Government hears clear calls from the community for proper scrutiny of this proposal. Our rivers, fishing and local communities are too important to risk.

Will you join me in calling for the NT Government to properly assess the environmental impacts of the cotton gin and associated expansion of the cotton industry?

Territorians should be able to trust that our government will do the job of protecting our water and landscapes for the future. It would be devastating to see a repeat of the same mistakes as the Murray-Darling. 

Thank you,

Lori Martin, Edith Farms

PS. I had a chance to talk to ABC radio about the impacts of this massive cotton gin earlier this week – listen in here and share with your friends and neighbours.

*Sentinel 2-L2A satellite data provided by Sinergise Laboratory for geographical information systems Ltd, EO Browser (accessed on October 3). 

Back to news