A New Beginning

Our elected politicians take extensive trips accompanied by well-monied business people at taxpayer expense.  Promises to listen to rural and remote residents’ need to live sufficiently – have not been honoured.

We asked for an open environmental planning appeals system because rural residents have no right of appeal against inappropriate development. Defending our rural amenity and the inherent right of our natural living environment to remain healthy and keep us healthy has been met with sympathetic head-shaking from our young and vital Ministers. They have PLANS – but nothing practical has actually been achieved.

The NT Labor government promised ethics and integrity. It imported ‘experts’ from the south to head our Environmental Protection Authority and Planning Commission without really consulting with or considering the skills and knowledge of local people. This has seriously affected the morale of locally-grown knowledge-sharers.

Developing the North remains a very contentious white papered process of offering incentives to foreign corporations while being aware that local small businesses and rural residents are denied the right to participate openly and fairly in the process. Helping small, local businesses to remain ethical while making reasonable incomes appears to have been left in the ‘too hard’ basket.

Neo-conservatives push for deregulation and fast-tracking ‘developments’ that take away community rights to protect the land.  It is not acceptable for a social democratic government to hand over the public purse to corporate raiders only interested in building their own empires.

RRRG expected our local, rural-raised Labor Minister for Primary Industries and Resources (Mining) to challenge the ‘right’ of interstate and transnational mining and agribusiness corporations to degrade Country and waste treasured natural resources – all for export.

National and transnational companies use the public purse to destroy our environment in the name of short-term, unsustainable ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ without better working conditions. The emerging culture of aggressive acquisition dehumanises, demeans and destroys our sense of fair-go and brutalises the world.

The Banana Freckle Eradication Program from 2014 to early 2017 caused extreme social upheaval and health problems in the Top End of the NT. This invasive program took away our environmental health and human dignity. We would like reassurances from our governments that our small-scale, chemical-free local food sovereignty will be protected in the future.

Governments that promise transparency and genuine community consultative processes should let the visible hand of Capitalism pay its disciples’ costs of exploiting environmental, social/cultural and local economic rights to sustainable well-being.

Our groundwater resources are threatened by conservative governments cutting ‘red tape’ to make business easier for export (and import) marketeers. Property speculators and live cattle export proponents with water licences  have the right to consume and sell groundwater to the extent of their  (over)-allocations.

The Australian Government refuses to have groundwater tested around the Katherine region to make sure that firefighting chemicals from the Tindal Airforce Base have not poisoned rural water supplies. Meanwhile rural landholders in the area depend on imported bottled water.

The Rural Residents’ Rights Group is a strong voice for rural rights in the NT – keeping ecological principles at the forefront of development. Our members and supporters use a precautionary approach to protect our natural resources from inappropriate development.

We rely on independent thinking to keep our community-supported voices and actions strong – to set our own checks and balances for our publicly-funded politicians to be guided by.