Newsletter – early April 2024

Greetings Friends,

This monthly newsletter (No. 37) includes; Senator walks, NT Election, Area Plan and National Park, Art and Artlink, Quiz, Plants and Wildlife.


1.0 Senators visit Lee Point and NT election 2024

During 9-11 April, five senators from the Middle Arm Senate Inquiry visited Lee Point and said they would be encouraging government to reconsider its decision on Lee Point. Sarah Hanson-Young has already written to Minister Tanya Plibersek on this issue.

Four senators went birdwatching around Lee Point dam.

There were many Red-winged Parrots seen on walk with Senator Pocock

Senator Hanson-Young (left) also Senator Grogan and Senator Cox on birdwatching walks.

A couple of questions FLP are hoping that the senators will get government to answer are:

For the DHA Lee Point housing project at Darwin; what locations were assessed in terms of;

      • community benefit

      • avoiding an environmental offset


    NT Election August 2024

    With the election looming it has become much easier to meet with ministers.

    FLP met with the planning minister Joel Bowden on the 12 April, the first organised meeting FLP have had in 4 years. The planning minister said revoking the Planning Permit (to stop clearing of old-growth forest at Lee Point) was a Labor policy decision and needed to be made by cabinet.

    The current (8) cabinet members are:

        • Hon Eva Lawler MLA

        • Hon Chanston (Chansey) Paech MLA

        • Hon Selena Uibo MLA

        • Hon Kathryn (Kate) Worden MLA

        • Hon Ngaree Ah Kit MLA

        • Hon Brent Potter MLA

        • Hon Joel Bowden MLA

        • Hon Mark Monaghan MLA

       Contact details can be found here: MLA list

      FLP have yet to meet with any MLAs at Lee Point.

      The Voices of the Top End (VoTE) report on election issues is due to be launched 6.30-8pm, 23 April 2024 at Darwin Railway Club . It will no doubt influence some of the election campaigns. All welcome, see; VoTE Launch event

      2.0  Planning for Lee Point

      Cultural Heritage

      On 28 March, Minister Plibersek rejected the Aboriginal cultural heritage application for the DHA project site leaving many people, particularly the Larrakia, devastated. This gives DHA the green light to clear old-growth forest. Larrakia traditional owners and others have vowed to fight on.

      Protesters on the 8 April at Lee Point

      People have been spending a lot of time here – photo 12 April 2024

      Lee Point Area Plan and Planning Permit

      Area Plans are supposed to reflect the needs and wishes of the community, not just the developer. The Lee Point Area Plan was created by the developer (DHA) with little involvement by the community and is flawed. It should not be used by the Development Consent Authority (DCA) for the Planning Permit.

      FLP has requested the planning minister (Joel Bowden) revoke the Planning Permit (to stop the development) and have the independent NT Planning Commission complete a new Area Plan for the Lee Point peninsula to guide the DCA.

      Lee Point whistleblower

      Dr Amanda Lilleyman has written to federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, outlining allegations of misconduct by DHA that involves the inappropriate use of her work on migratory shorebirds at Lee Point. Canberra Times published the allegations on 8 April 2024.

      Casuarina Coastal Reserve (CCR) as a National Park

      Adding 34 ha with only 4 old-growth trees into CCR and calling it a national park does not make up for clearing 400 old-growth trees, over half from the Lee Point peninsula. Read FLP submission. Submissions to NT Government close Monday 22 April 2024 – Have your say

      3.0 Lee Point Art

      Lee Point Art Project 2024

      Adam Foster has written a poem called the “Thin Green Line” about Lee Point with people putting art to the (11) stanzas.

      The Thin Green Line exhibition opened 4 April and is being held at Art Warehouse, 23 Daly Street. It closes on the 18 April – view entries by artists and listen to the Thin Green Line read by Merillee Mills, audio engineered by Ben Andrews. Many thanks to Justine Glover, Carol Phayer and Gayle Laidlaw for organising the exhibition.

      Stanza 1 – Carol Phayer

      Artlink Magazine

      Artlink has just published an 8-page article on “The Gouldian Finch and Save Lee Point campaign”. The article by Maurice O’Riordan covers the rise of the Gouldian Finch to an eco-icon through the work of Gayle Laidlaw, David Percival, and others.

      Art workshop at Lee Point – photo Gayle Laidlaw


      Lee Point Street Party – 28 March

      FLP set up an art stall in the Railway Club gardens and joined the Lee Point Street Party. The party was organised by ECNT and was a success despite receiving bad news on the cultural heritage application earlier in the day.

      Up to 300 people attended the event, some were unable to get in due capacity limits.

      Ovulators band with Alice Cotton

      Garden party at the Railway Club

      Sundays at Lee Point and Wilderness Walks

      Art has been a feature at Sundays at Lee Point and Wilderness Walks have been running each week 7am Saturday and 5pm Sunday. The walks have been identifying 30-45 bird species each time, refer to ebird for latest sightings.

      Sunday Art at Lee Point with Nick Kirlew from Plan: Planning Action Network giving a talk.

      4.0  Quiz

      This moth can be seen around Lee Point/Darwin. Name the moth and particular tree it lays its eggs on?

      Photo by Peter Brown at Binybara Camp April 2024

      5.0 Plants and Wildlife

      Flowering woollybutts and grevilleas, fruiting fungi, butterflies and birds were a part of the Lee Point Corridor this month.

      Woollybutt flowering

      Grevillea dryandri flowering

      Fruiting fungi

      Clearwing Swallowtail Butterfly

      Dollarbird – photo by Peter Brown April 2024

      Blue-winged Kookaburra – Photo by Simone Martin April 2024

      Red-backed Fairywren (male on left), and courting female on right near Binybara Camp – photo Peter Brown 13 April 2024.

      Enjoy the coming dry season

      Answers to Quiz

      Four O’Clock Moth (Dysphania numana).

      In the Top End, larvae (caterpillar) feed only on the Bush Currant (Carallia brachiata). The caterpillar can be either green or yellow like this.

      Photo Tissa Ratanakeye