Dear Minister Gee and Minister Birmingham,
You are the two ministers responsible for Defence Housing Australia. Who is responsible for looking after the Australian taxpayer’s best interests when it comes to DHA activities?
For that matter, shouldn’t DHA be considering the best interests of the people they provide the housing for?
The proposed development at Lee Point on the edge of Darwin is a disaster for our community and for the people who will be housed there for many reasons.
1 There was never any real public consultation about the proposal. Very few people, myself included, were aware of it until very recently. Proceeding without having a proper area plan in place means that public opinion is being completely disregarded.
2 I work in tourism. Lee Point is a haven for many species. The relatively rare rainbow pitta breeds there. The greatest bird concentrations occur in the Build Up, a time when tourism depends on things like birdwatching to keep our businesses operating. The insects which will make life miserable for people who might live in the new development are necessary to the survival of many of the birds that live in the area.
3 Putting a major development at Lee Point will require massive spending on infrastructure. Who is going to pay for that?
The necessary infrastructure (water, sewerage etc) is already in place at the old Berrimah Farm. Placing the housing there, closer to where defence personnel would be working, would avoid a massive increase in traffic in the northern suburbs as well as making life a lot easier for Defence personnel who would be based there.
4 The proposed development is on the edge of a mangrove swamp and near a sewerage works. Most people would not consider those to be good neighbours. I would have thought that better conditions for defence personnel stationed in Darwin would have been a top priority, not a mere afterthought as this proposal implies.
5 There are the WWII Defence Heritage sites in the area. Some of these will almost certainly be lost if the proposed development goes ahead in its current form.
I urge you to halt the development until a proper area plan has been prepared and other, better, alternatives have been considered.