Territory Stories

Ecologically sustainable development in the Darwin Harbour Region : review of governance frameworks



Ecologically sustainable development in the Darwin Harbour Region : review of governance frameworks

Other title

Environment Protection Agency.


Environment Protection Agency (Northern Territory); Northern Territory. Department Of Lands, Planning And Environment


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT





Table of contents

Executive summary -- Introduction -- 1. Background -- 1.1 Terms of reference -- 1.2 Scope and structure of the review -- 1.3 Ecologically sustainable development and governance -- 1.4 Ecologically sustainable development, principles and criteria -- 1.5 The Darwin Harbour Region -- 2. Ecologically sustainable development in legislation, policies and plans -- 2.1 Strategic development and management -- 2.2 Land use -- 2.3 Minerals, extractive materials and petroleum -- 2.4 Ports -- 2.5 Pollution, waste and public health -- 2.6 Water -- 2.7 Fisheries and marine areas -- 2.8 Biodiversity, heritage and natural resource management -- 2.9 Environmental assessment -- 3. Discussion and findings -- 4. Advice.




Darwin Harbour -- Environmental aspects; Environmental management -- Northern Territory -- Darwin Harbour

Publisher name

Environment Protection Agency

Place of publication



vii, 59 p. : col. ills. ; 30 cm.

File type




Copyright owner

Environment Protection Agency



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7 Freehold, which the Larrakia Traditional Owners would then be able to develop as land held in trust. Economy The Darwin Harbour region provides a hub for economic activity in the NT.8 Mining is by far the largest contributor to the Territorys economy and while mining in the Darwin Harbour region is largely limited to extractive materials for construction, Darwin port provides an important hub for mining exports. Tourism is also a key industry for the region and a significant Defence Force presence provides opportunities for development as a regional supply, service and distribution centre for both the Australian and international defence sectors. The Darwin Harbour catchment is the focus of 90 percent of the entire primary production occurring in the Darwin region. Production is based on fruit, vegetables, nursery products, cut flowers and some mixed farming. Activities at Darwin port include in livestock export, offshore and gas rig services, container and general cargo, mineral resources, dry bulk, petroleum and other liquid products, and cruise and naval vessels. The ongoing expansion of these activities is expected to significantly increase future cargo volume through the port.9 Environment The Darwin Harbour region hosts threatened plant and animal species of national and international significance, and wetlands and flora of national significance. Almost 500 vertebrate animal species are present in the region and over 30 are listed as threatened or vulnerable under NT legislation. While research is currently underway, little is known about the harbours marine flora and fauna. It has been estimated, however, that the harbour may support in excess of 3000 marine invertebrate species including sponges, hard and soft corals, crabs, prawns, marine worms, seastars, jellyfish, mussels, marine snails, seasquirts and seawhips.10 Dugongs and dolphins frequent the harbour, as do three threatened turtle species (the flatback, hawksbill and green turtle). Of all the fish species, 15 are classified as threatened under IUCN classifications. Society and Culture The harbours natural environment is innately tied to the regions indigenous heritage. Archaeological sites including shell middens, artefact scatters and historical campsites and gathering places are also spread throughout the region, telling a story of thousands of years of occupation. These ties continue with ongoing traditional use of the regions resources by the Larrakia people and a desire to combine traditional ecological knowledge with scientific approaches to conservation management in the region. European heritage sites, also scattered throughout the region, pertain to the regions more recent past and include significant WWII and colonial heritage sites. The natural environment of the region also provides for a range of important social and cultural values that include tourism, fishing, sports, recreation, as well as aesthetic and spiritual values. 8 DHAC 2003: 2-22 9 DHAC 2003: 2-20 10 DHAC 2003: 2-32

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