Resistance to extraction of 40,000 megalitres of water a year from arid Central Australia

A water expert and a key Indigenous group have stated that an application to use 40,000 megalitres of water a year for a major fruit and vegetable project in Central Australia should be rejected. Last year, Fortune Agribusiness applied for a licence to use the groundwater to develop one of Australia's largest fruit and vegetable farms at Singleton Station in arid Central Australia, about 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek.

The Central Land Council, which represents traditional owners in Central Australia, said it was concerned the Northern Territory Government was leaning towards approving the application, which would make it the Northern Territory's largest private water allocation.

CLC executive director of policy, Josie Douglas, urged the NT Water Controller to turn down the licence application until more was known about its potential environmental impacts. "At the end of 2020 the Central Land Council met with native title holders and residents, and people were very concerned," Dr Douglas said.

"It is the very strong view of the Central Land Council that a project of this size, where a public resource is being provided for free, must meet the most rigorous scientific standards, and a precautionary process must apply at every step of the way," she told abc.net.au.

The Northern Territory Government is yet to respond to questions.


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