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The great water heist? NT Government to giveaway billions of litres of water free to developers

Thanks to everyone who signed the petition. This petition is now CLOSED. We expect to hear a decision from the water controller on the water licence application next week (it is currently February 10 at the time of writing) and will keep you updated on the outcome.


Right now, the NT Government is considering granting Fortune Agribusiness a 40 billion litre annual water licence, which would make it the largest private water licence in the Northern Territory.

Sign the petition calling on Environment Minister Eva Lawler to intervene and immediately refer the water licence for environmental assessment.

Fortune Agribusiness is seeking the rights to 40 billion litres of water each year in arid central Australia to develop 3,500 hectares of “intensive irrigated horticulture” including avocados, mandarins and grapes.

If granted, it would be the single largest private water licence allocation in the Northern Territory. Without a water pricing regime, Fortune Agribusiness would receive this water for free from the NT Government.

Traditional owners have raised concerns about the scale of the water allocation and want the water to “stay in the country”.

Currently no water rights exist with respect to safe drinking water in remote Indigenous communities.

The Government is considering granting a water licence of unprecedented volume to developers while some remote communities are being supplied with unsafe drinking water, or are at severe risk of running out of water 

The licence application outlines a range of unacceptable and irreversible impacts, including the drawdown of groundwater levels of up to 50 metres in just three decades.

Water security is already an issue across central Australia. A water license of this size will have an irreversible impact on water resources and the communities and ecosystems that depend on them, with no guarantee of recovery.

ALEC has sent a letter to Minister Eva Lawler urging her to intervene in this process. Add your voice and help strengthen that call.

Sign the petition calling on Minister Eva Lawler to refer this application to the Environment Protection Authority to better understand the impact on the environment before a decision to grant the licence is made.

Will you sign?

Dear Minister Eva Lawler,

As your constituent, I am extremely concerned about Fortune Agribusiness’ Western Davenport Water Allocation Request.

If granted, the licence would be the largest private water licence in the Northern TerritoryThe environmental impacts of this mega-licence would be huge yet the Government is considering granting the licence without even undertaking an assessment to properly understand the risks.

Moreover, some remote Indigenous communities in the NT are currently being supplied with contaminated water while other communities are running out of water completely.  Granting developers rights to water for free when there are no rights existing with respect to safe drinking water in remote Indigenous communities is unacceptable. 

A water license of this size will have an irreversible impact on water resources in central Australia. 

I urge you to please consider the communities and ecosystems that depend on these water resources and refer this application for environmental assessment before a licence is granted.


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