A New Beginning

While extensive trips with well-monied business people accompanying them at taxpayer expense don’t appear to have abated under this NT Labor government, promises to listen to what rural and remote residents need to live sufficiently – have also 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 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.

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 business to remain ethical while making reasonable incomes appears to have been left in the ‘too hard’ basket.

While a neo-conservative goal to deregulate and simplify ways of taking away community rights to protect the land may seem acceptable to political power-brokers exploiting the public purse for personal gain, it is not acceptable for a social democratic government to give more legal interest to short-term, foreign corporate gain.

This needs to change under a government that promises transparency and genuine community consultative processes.

The Banana Freckle Eradication Program from 2014 to the present has caused extreme social upheaval and health problems in the Top End of the NT. While Australia is considered an affluent country, many people still depend on home-grown food crops like bananas, sweet potatos and pumpkins for health and welfare and this right to grow our own healthy heritage crops has been destroyed by Australian and NT government and export-orientated primary industry bodies intervening into what crops we can grow healthily and consume locally.

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

Funding national and transnational companies from the public purse to destroy our environment in the name of ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ that are short-term, unsustainable and encourage more foreign work visa holders than locals wanting better working conditions is not what social democracies need.

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.  Powers-that-be in the reinvigorated NT government  bureaucracy have  exempted  domestic users of groundwater  in the Darwin Rural Water Control District – with gardens less than .5 hectares – from applying for a water licence.

The Rural Residents’ Rights Group is a strong voice for rural rights in the NT and will go where no one person has gone before. RRRG will explore new universes and keep ecological principles at the forefront of development.Our members and supporters use a precautionary approach to protect our natural resources from inappropriate development.

RRRG does not support primary industrial growth dependent on toxic chemical use, large government subsidies and tax concessions, over-consumption and degradation of our precious groundwater and cruel, inhumane treatment of living ‘stock’ or native wildlife victim to export or global market excesses.

RRRG will continue to strongly lobby the NT Labor government to put primary industry policies on sustainable food production and mining into practice. It’s time to support local community farming and cottage industries to sustain families and local communities healthily into the future..

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

RRRG will continue to be an empowering body against government corruption and cronyism.