May 9 – works halted!

Three items here, ECNT release, Protesters video and EJA press release.

Media release: Works “paused” at Lee Point as Defence Housing Australia accused of alleged unlawful land clearing, as environment and community groups call for Senate probe

Environmental groups and community members involved in the campaign to Save Lee Point have today called for the investigation and potential prosecution of Defence Housing Australia (DHA), and a Senate probe into the unfolding disaster at Lee Point, as it is revealed that works have been paused at the controversial site while DHA investigates allegations that some land was cleared without all necessary approvals.

Between 30 April 2024 and 2 May 2024, bulldozers destroyed approximately 18 hectares of habitat. Lee Pont peninsula is home to Gouldian Finches, black-footed tree rats, northern brush-tail possums, and approximately 270 species of birds.

Protestors support video

On 6 May 2024, lawyers from Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) wrote to DHA on behalf of the Environment Centre NT and Larrakia Traditional Owner Tibby Quall alleging that part of the land (approximately 6 hectares) had been cleared without appropriate approvals (including an approved erosion and sediment control plan and a construction environment management plan). They alleged that Sections 75B(1) and 75C(1) of the Planning Act 1999 (NT) may have been breached, and that the conduct may constitute offences under that legislation. On 7 May 2024, DHA confirmed that they had paused further works at Lee Point pending completion of a review into the allegations.

This pause is the third in as many years. DHA stopped works at the site for close to twelve months while Minister Plibersek assessed the impact of the development on a population of Gouldian Finches under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act). Then, in August 2023, the works were again paused for 8 months following an application by Larrakia elder Tibby Quall under federal cultural heritage laws.

The latest Lee Point destruction occurs as the Australian Government has walked back from its promise to overhaul the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in this term of government, and during an ongoing Senate Inquiry into Australia’s “Extinction Crisis”.

Community groups are calling for a complete stop to the Lee Point development, the investigation of a possible prosecution of DHA under the Planning Act, and for DHA to be called before the Senate Inquiry into Australia’s Extinction Crisis to be examined about its conduct at Lee Point and its other housing developments across the country, including the Commonwealth Government’s own role in accelerating extinction.

Kirsty Howey, Executive Director, Environment Centre NT:

“If proven, these allegations are a national scandal.  The community’s battle to save this precious natural and cultural wonder has captivated people around the country, and it beggars belief that a government agency may have been responsible for alleged unlawful conduct at the site.”

“We’re calling for the investigation of prosecution of DHA, and for the Senate to re-open its Inquiry into Australia’s Extinction Crisis to thoroughly investigate this disaster before it goes any further, including to examine the ongoing role of the Australian Government in speeding ecological destruction.”

Jessica Black, community campaigner and spokesperson for Binybara camp:

“The Darwin community is reeling from last week’s senseless destruction. It was harrowing to watch on while authorities on site failed to respond to the community’s complaints of alleged unlawful clearing. While the community was heavily policed for trying to defend nature, where were the authorities tasked with enforcing DHA’s compliance with the law?”

“It’s time for DHA to abandon this disastrous development once and for all, and for the Senate to investigate how this senseless ecological and cultural destruction has been allowed to happen.”

Ian Redmond, Friends of Lee Point Inc:

“DHA’s conduct must be scrutinised by the Senate. This development has been plagued by appalling planning from the start, and never should have been allowed to get this far. It’s well past time for a probe into DHA. The Lee Point development must be shelved completely.”

Dr Andrew Bell, NT Field Naturalists Club Inc

“The Northern Territory Field Naturalists’ Club calls on both the NT and Australian Governments to urgently intervene to cease all further land clearing at Lee Point, and to investigate compliance of DHA with its obligations to protect wildlife and adhere to the law in relation to land clearing. The destruction of bushland last week has already seriously damaged the biodiversity and conservation values of the Lee Point Peninsula, including Casuarina Coastal Reserve.”

Contact: Elliot Hughes (0413 740 016) 

Sent on behalf of:

Eric Fejo, Larrakia elder

Environment Centre NT

Binybara Camp

Friends of Lee Point Inc

Birdlife Top End

Planning Action Network Inc

NT Field Naturalists Club Inc

Biodiversity Watch

Dr Louise Woodward, Darwin Children’s Clinic

Dr Simone Martin




Elliot Hughes (he/they)

Communications Manager

T 0413 740 016 E | W

GPO Box 2120, Darwin NT 0801 | Unit 3/98 Woods Street, Darwin Northern Territory – Australia

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We acknowledge the Larrakia people, on whose land we meet, live and work.  

We pay our respects to their elders past and present.

We acknowledge that First Nation’s sovereignty of their lands, seas and waters was never ceded.

EJA Release

Please see release by Environmental Justice Australia, on behalf of client, Tibby Quall: