Plibersek must step in to stop mismanagement of critical water resources in the Northern Territory


The Greens are calling on the Federal Water Minister to intervene to stop mismanagement of critical water resources in the Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory Government is facing increasing scrutiny from water experts and environment groups for their draft Georgina Wiso Water Allocation Plan. This plan details more than a tenfold increase in water extraction, allowing 262.5GL to be extracted by big agriculture, big mining and fossil fuel industries each year, including for growing cotton and fracking gas in the Beetaloo Basin.

The draft Plan details the largest water allocation ever proposed in the Northern Territory, yet it was prepared entirely without consultation or expert advice from a Water Advisory Committee.

Greens Spokesperson for Water Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

“The NT Government’s water extraction plans are alarming. Public interest and water security has been thrown out the window. They are sacrificing consultation and accountability in order to pave the way for fracking and big agriculture.

“The Federal Water Minister needs to intervene and consider what can be done under federal environment laws to prevent over extraction.

“The NT Government’s Plan lacks any risk assessment or direction for extraction and provides no objectives to ensure the protection of environmental and cultural values, sidestepping accountability measures required in the Water Act.

"This puts it completely out of step with Australian practice and the National Water Initiative. The Albanese Labor Government has committed to renewing the National Water Initiative, yet the Northern Territory Government cannot even meet the existing one.

“The Plan must be rewritten with the creation of a Water Advisory Committee and inclusion of critical information to address environmental and cultural protections.

"This is not the only plan of its kind, with the Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan also being rushed through despite lack of support from its Water Advisory Committee due to its failure to protect the environment.

"At a time when it is evident serious water reform is needed, the Northern Territory Government cannot get away with such blatant mismanagement of critical resources.”