Joint Submission to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Developing Northern Australia

Kimberley to Cape has coordinated the development of a joint submission to the Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia with the aim of drawing the Committee’s attention to four principles and four actions that signatories believe will help achieve a more equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically resilient future for Northern Australia.

We presented this submission to Parliamentary Inquiry Committee Members in person on Darwin on Tues day 20th May 2014.


Dear Committee Members

The future of Northern Australia is founded on its Indigenous cultures, diverse
communities, and its globally-significant natural environments including the world’s
largest intact savanna and network of free flowing rivers. This Inquiry has the
opportunity to help realise the potential of Northern Australia and to safeguard its
outstanding values. We believe it is necessary to maintain these values whilst
building a stronger, more diverse and resilient economy. We ask that the Committee
use the following principles as a basis for your Inquiry and recommendations for the
development of the White Paper.

Principles to guide the future of Northern Australia:
 Northern Australia’s unique, intact and globally-significant natural and cultural
values must be recognised, utilised and safeguarded as a centrepoint of its future.
 Northern development and Indigenous socio-economic development must be
pursued together, since neither is sustainable, nor equitable, without the other.
 Development options must involve genuine consultation with local communities
and be compatible with local conditions.
 A strong, diverse and sustainable economy for Northern Australia is necessary to
underpin the wellbeing of its communities, the long-term management of its
resources, and its contribution to Australian and global society.

On this basis we urge you to:

  1. Engage Northern Australians, especially Indigenous people, and others including industry, in a broad and genuine dialogue about future aspirations and development policies.
  2. Heed the lessons of the past, the risks and constraints presented by science, and the knowledge of local communities, to ensure development options work within ecological limits.
  3. Build on the work of Traditional Owner groups and Indigenous working groups, expert bodies and forums, such as the North Australian Indigenous Experts Forum on Sustainable Economic Development and the Kimberley and Cape York Appropriate Economies Roundtables, and support mechanisms to receive direct advice from forums such as these.
  4. Apply the Inquiry Terms of Reference to a) examine the po
    • tential for the development of the region’s low footprint, high socio-economic benefit industries and land uses, including ecosystem service-based industries, and identify policy, regulatory, market and incentive instruments to support their long term sustainable development; b)

    identify critical economic and social infrastructure, and critical environmental infrastructure and services, needed to support the long term wellbeing of the region, and ways to support planning and investment in this.

We look forward to working with you toward a more equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically resilient future for Northern Australia. For questions or more information regarding this submission please contact Dr Clare Taylor (email

Yours sincerely,

Anindilyakwa Land Council Land and Sea Management, Ian Kerr, EO

Australian Conservation Foundation, Don Henry, CEO

Catholic Earthcare Australia, Jacqui Redmond, Director

Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation, Steve Roeger EO

Diocese of Broome, Bishop Christopher Saunders

Environment Centre NT, Stuart Blanch, Director

Environs Kimberley, Martin Pritchard, Exec Director

Greening Australia, Brendan Foran, CEO

Humann & Associates, Doug Humann, AM Director

Invasive Species Council, Andrew Cox, CEO

Kimberley Land Council, Nolan Hunter, CEO

North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance, Angela Shima, Acting CEO

Protected Areas and Linking Landscapes, Ian Pulsford, Consultant

Regional Development Australia NT, Kate Peake, EO

RIEL at Charles Darwin University, Andrew Campbell, Michael Douglas, Stephen Garnett, John Woinarski, Profs

Wilderness Society, Lyndon Schneiders, National Campaign Director

Worldwide Fund for Nature, Dermot O’Gorman, CEO


For a pdf of the submission please open this link: Submission to Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia KimberleytoCape

For more information on submissions and the Committee please see: