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The NT Cattlemen’s Association chief executive Ashley Manicaros says changes to the Non-Pastoral Use guidelines put in place by the Gunner Government will stifle economic development in the Northern Territory by adding an unnecessary layer of administrative burden on applicants.
Mr Manicaros also expressed his annoyance at the changes being made without proper consultation, showing a total lack of respect to pastoral lessees including those who already had applications in the system.
“We have several concerns relating to the extra administrative delays the changes create,” Mr Manicaros said. “This seems incongruent with the government’s stated position of assisting and expediting economic investment.
“The changes to the guidelines that have been introduced, for example, now 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.
“Under the old guidelines there had been 18 non-pastoral use applications and very few, less than five, had generated a response from land councils.
“There are also new requirements for sacred sites clearance and environmental controls.
Mr Manicaros said what was really disappointing was 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. The Minister and Department knew these changes were coming, gave no prior notification, no consultation. These guidelines were made public on the NT Government website on 14 September 2018,” he said.
“We are very disappointed at the lack of notification and consultation, and we are frustrated at what appears to be a lack of overall respect for our industry and the people who make up this $1 billion industry the pastoral lessees.
“The pastoral industry has been a shining light in an otherwise poor economic climate and to ensure it continues to diversify and offer investment and employment for Territorians we now want to make it harder to invest.”
Some of the changes include:
Previous guidelines – Requirement for a report from AAPA and if a sacred site is there then applicant must provide an appropriate management strategy to protect the site
Current guidelines – If a sacred or significant site is located within the proposed area then a clearance is required from AAPA (At a cost of thousands of dollars)
Public and Native Title notification
Previous guidelines – Everyone has 30 days to comment
Current guidelines – Public have 30 days notification to comment; Land Councils, registered native title body corporate and registered native title claimants have 90 days to comment.
Matters to be taken into account by PLB
Current guidelines – additional requirements including:
Impact on regional biodiversity
Any environmental issues under the Environmental Assessment Act (NT) or the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (Cth), which may require referral to the NTEPA.
Contact: Ashley Manicaros, Chief Executive Officer, NT Cattlemen’s Association - 08 8981 5976