Matt Thistlethwaite MP – Response to MT reply

 We suggest you copy the letter below into an email, change as you see fit and send to the following people:

Matt Thistlethwaite MP (Assistant Minister for Defence and shareholder minister for DHA) –

C/C:  Shareholder minister of DHA – Senator Katy Gallagher, Minister for Defence – Richard Marles, Minister for Environment – Tanya Plibersek MP, Senator for NT – Senator Malandirri McCarthy, Member for Solomon – Luke Gosling MP and Chief Minister for NT – Natasha Fyles.,,,,,

READ first on-line letter to Matt Thistlethwaite MP and standard reply from the minister. Response to minister’s standard reply is below:

Subject: Urgent request to halt the Defence Housing Australia development at Lee Point, Darwin – response to July 2023 email

Dear Minister Thistlethwaite,

Thank you for your email regarding the Defence Housing Australia’s (‘DHA’) project at Lee Point in Darwin. I appreciate your ongoing interest in this matter as Lee Point is one of the most important natural assets of Darwin.

The DHA housing project will harm Lee Point and Darwin. This “harm” relates to social, cultural, heritage, environmental, economic and governance matters and are outlined in more detail in Planning for Lee Point

As you are probably aware the Australian government only uses offsets as a last resort after avoidance and mitigation measures have been exhausted. Investigating avoidance options, in this instance other housing locations, should have been the first step in planning a housing development at Lee Point.

DHA developed the Lee Point Area Plan in consultation with the NT Government in 2014 bypassing the normal Area Plan planning process undertaken by the (independent) NT Planning Commission. The NT government (2012-16) is remembered for several appalling decisions. It was effectively disbanded in 2016 after the worst defeat of a sitting government in the Territory’s history leaving behind the ill-conceived Lee Point Area Plan as one of its legacies.

I have never heard of a report detailing a “comprehensive consultation on Lee Point” with the Darwin community nor a cost-benefit report by DHA that looks at different housing location options. This is despite the taxpayer underwriting the project to a tune of $400M and suitable locations being available for housing. Given the planning process above, it would be a surprise to me if these reports exist; however, if they do exist, I would be most grateful if you could send me a copy.

The lack of democratic process and transparency surrounding the Lee Point project has persisted for many years and this needs to change. It’s time the Darwin community had their say.

 Yours Sincerely