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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44 The Act provides two legislative mechanisms for regulating land use outside of reserves: declarations of essential habitat; and agreements with land owners under Section 75. An essential habitat may be declared where a discrete area of land or sea has been identified as essential to the survival of a species. The declaration prescribes certain activities which may not be carried out. However, there is no positive requirement to declare essential habitats and the absence of such declarations to date possibly reflects this difficulty. Financial assistance is a possibility under Section 75 agreements whereby Parks and Wildlife may enter into agreements with a land owner for the protection and conservation of wildlife and natural features on their land. Many agreements have been entered into in the past and positively reflect the ESD principle relating to incentive mechanisms. More recently, NRETAS has developed the Territory Eco-link initiative which focuses strongly on partnerships with stakeholders and landholders to achieve more effective and broader conservation outcomes. ESD The TPWC Act does not specify overarching objectives and ESD is not referred to either as an intended outcome, or as part of any decision-making occurring under the Act. The Act specifies an objective for the declaration and management of parks and reserves, although this objective is merely to make provision for the establishment and management of parks and reserves appropriate to be established by the Administrator20. Integration A major legislative shortcoming of the framework is its lack of integration in decision- making processes across the system of land allocation and management in the Territory. Other governmental processes such as land use planning, water allocation planning, development decision-making, waste and pollution control, pastoral land management and mine management are not being appropriately informed by the TPWC Act. Issues outlined in management programs for threatened wildlife, for example, are not reflected in other processes which may actually be able to address the threats posed to wildlife, therefore severely compromising the effectiveness of those programs. A further shortcoming of the current framework is that it is characterised by what is effectively the subservience of the TPWC Act to the various pieces of legislation governing the mining and petroleum sectors. The relationship gives the ultimate decision- making authority concerning the protection of conservation areas from the adverse impacts of mining to the Minister for Mines, who is not bound under that legislative framework to consider the principles of ESD. Public Participation Before declaring an area of land or sea to be a park, reserve, sanctuary, or wilderness zone, the Administrator must first consider a report from the NT Parks and Wildlife Commission about the proposed area of land or sea to be declared.21 Parks 20 TPWC Act Part II, Section 11 21 AMCS undated