Save Lee Point
The natural beauty and biodiversity at Lee Point/Binybara is under threat.
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No comprehensive Area Plan exists for the whole of Lee Point peninsula yet close to 40% of it is now planned for development. Darwin’s First Nations people – Larrakia want alternative sites looked at for housing but further bulldozing could take place at Lee Point on 31 March 2024.
TAKE ACTION – Send a letter now to Assistant Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite (minister directly responsible for DHA) to halt the bulldozers from destroying critical old growth woodland at Lee Point for housing. If you have already had a response email from the minister you might like to send a reply like this – Take Action
The current Lee Point development is not based on sound science or the wishes and needs of the community – refer Planning for Lee Point. The announcement* on Lee Point by Minister Plibersek in June 2023 leaves many questions unanswered, here are a few:
1.0 Has government abandoned its environmental offset policy?
Environmental offsets are only supposed to be used as a last resort after avoidance and mitigation measures have been exhausted. To date, there is no evidence that any other locations were investigated by DHA to avoid using an offset at Lee Point for the endangered Black-footed Tree-rat or endangered Gouldian Finch. Some potential sites for investigation are given below.
Map showing Lee Point peninsula – Stage 1 cleared, with Stage 2 next and future clearing with a red border, 50m buffer (announced) for Gouldian Finches.
Partial clearing of Black-footed Tree-rat and Gouldian Finch habitat in Stage 2 by DHA, July 2023.
2.0 What happened to ending deforestation by 2030?
Australia along with over half the world’s nations have agreed to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. The June 2023 announcement means that the majority of old growth trees (tree hollows) will be cleared from Lee Point.
Protecting the old growth trees (tree hollows) at Lee Point is about protecting Darwin’s last wildlife corridor, Darwin’s biodiversity and ultimately the quality of life of future generations. Please read this executive summary
3.0 What happened to reducing subsidies that harm biodiversity?
Australia signed up with other countries to reduce biodiversity-harming subsidies (Target 18). The urban sprawl by DHA at Lee Point will require a taxpayer subsidy to make it work. This subsidy harms biodiversity due to loss of critical habitat (tree hollows) and increased car emissions (due to location).
The measures taken to protect Gouldian finch habitat at Lee Point has been described by scientists we have spoken to as being “tokenistic“.
Most people prior to 2020 were unaware of the DHA development or that the 2015 Notice of Intent (see Sec 2.2.2) had buildings up to 12 storeys high proposed for Lee Point. The houses at Lee Point are expensive, not near public transport, and do not address Darwin’s housing crisis. They need to be affordable and located where they will deliver a public benefit, such as Berrimah, Holtze or Weddell.
Posts from Friends of Lee Point
The destruction of the Lee Point Biodiversity Corridor by government is not OK. Darwin needs sustainable development not an urban sprawl.
Stage 1 (out of a total of 8) was cleared in 2021 and part of Stage 2 was cleared in 2023 representing a 10-15% loss of the old-growth trees at Lee Point. Planning for Lee Point explains why we need a comprehensive Area Plan for the whole of Lee Point by the NT Planning Commission before any significant development should be allowed. Government is subsidising an urban sprawl at Lee Point that compromises the tourism industry. Who is benefiting from this? The Lee Point housing development is controversial... Read more
Lee Point is an irreplaceable asset that contains over half of Casuarina Coastal Reserve (CCR). CCR attracts over one million visits each year because of its natural beauty and rich biodiversity. Friends of Lee Point (FLP) is a non-profit Darwin community based group seeking to protect the Lee Point environment and our quality of life.
The Lee Point Area Plan approved in 2015 (without NT Planning Commission involvement) allows housing at Lee Point. This Plan is focused on the disused Defence land. Defence Housing Australia (DHA) which is wholly owned by the Australian Government has planned a development to house thousands of people at Lee Point. This development is unnecessary and will lead to:
- severe impact on people’s enjoyment of Lee Point,
- traffic congestion, increased travel time and car dependency,
- increased CO2 emissions,
- considerable loss of habitat and wildlife, and
- significant costs for the taxpayer.
In short, it leads to an urban sprawl; refer to Planning for Lee Point.