Sir – Changes to the non-pastoral use guidelines put in place by the Gunner Government will stifle economic development in the NT by adding an unnecessary layer of administrative burden on applicants.
The changes were made without proper consultation, showing a total lack of respect to pastoral lessees including those who already had applications in the system. This seems inconsistent with the government’s stated position of assisting and expediting economic investment.
The changes create an extended period for the submission of comments from Land Councils and/or traditional owners enlarging the application approval process by a minimum of two months. Meanwhile, the public will only have 30 days to respond.
If a sacred or significant site is located within the proposed area then a clearance is now required from AAPA, at a cost of thousands of dollars.
Under the old guidelines there had been 18 non-pastoral use applications and fewer than five generated a response from land councils.
There are also new requirements for sacred sites clearance and environmental controls.
What is really disappointing is that the Minister responsible, Eva Lawler, and the department, knew these changes were coming and did not consult with industry.
These guidelines are dated as being approved in May 2018 and were made public on the NT Government website on September 14.
We are frustrated at what appears to be a lack of overall respect for our $1 billion industry and the people [running it].
The pastoral industry has been a shining light in an otherwise poor economic climate.