Dear Matt Thistlethwaite MP
I write to you to request that you abandon Defence Housing Australia’s (‘DHA’) planned development at Lee Point (Binybara) in Darwin.
Larrakia traditional owners and the broader Darwin community have spoken, we do not want DHA to develop this land. We have been calling for this project to be stopped ever since we first became aware of the immense and irreversible cultural and environmental devastation it would cause.
We were devastated by the recent clearing of old growth trees at Lee Point on 6 July 2023. One of the many needless consequences of this day was the arrest of a young Larrakia woman as she peacefully protested on her grandmother’s country. This shameful act was facilitated by the DHA and reflects incredibly poorly on you as the responsible Minister.
The NT Police arrested 11 other people that day. In total, 12 people put their bodies on the line to stop this development – your DHA development – from going ahead.
It is plainly evident that your DHA development will do nothing to alleviate the current housing crisis in Darwin. The houses proposed are located away from public transport and are unaffordable for many people. The area while being within 1km of a beach is also known for biting insects and offensive sewage odours. It is plainly apparent that the greatest benefactors of this development are DHA itself who are able to sell to interstate investors not the Darwin community.
In summary, your DHA development (an urban sprawl) leads to:
- severe impact on Larrakia culture
- severe impact on people’s enjoyment of Lee Point
- increased traffic congestion, travel time, car dependency and CO2 emissions
- considerable loss of habitat and wildlife, and
- significant costs for the taxpayer
DHA have never released any public benefit-cost information on why the Lee Point site was chosen over other locations. But what we do know is that there is plenty of other suitable land available closer to the defence bases that would be much more suitable for housing defence personnel (ie. Berrimah or Weddell).
Larrakia people, thousands of concerned Darwin residents, the City of Darwin, the majority of delegates at the 2023 Ecological Society of Australia Conference, and many more supporters of ‘Save Lee Point’ from across the country do not want this development to occur.
We implore you, as the responsible Minister for DHA, to abandon your planned development of Lee Point and to allow the community to decide on the future of Lee Point.
References: Planning for Lee Point