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Media Release: Water allocation and buffel grass burning topics during meeting with NT Environment Minister today

Mparntwe Alice Springs 13 December 2023

Environmentalists, water justice campaigners and a Central Land Council ranger met with the NT Environment Minister this morning calling for strong weed declaration on buffel grass and for action to be taken to stop dangerous water extraction across the NT. The meeting was organised by the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC), the peak community environmental organisation advocating for sustainability in the arid lands since 1980.

Minister Worden met with 

  • Maureen Jipiyiliya Nampijinpa O’Keefe, Director of the Water Justice Project, Chair of Running Water Community Press
  • Adrian Tomlinson, Arid Lands Environment Centre CEO
  • Hannah Ekin, Central Australia’s Frack Free Coordinator
  • Garth Forrester, Central Land Council Ranger Group Coordinator Haarts Range, Atitjere and concerned citizen
  • Meret MacDonald, Arid Lands Environment Centre Communications and Community Engagement


Minister Worden was presented with an Open Letter signed by 51 organisations from across Central Australia, the NT and nationally calling for an A/B Weed Declaration on buffel grass. Also discussed by Garth Forrester was the Central Land Council’s resolution calling for buffel grass to be declared a class A/B weed.

Organisational signatories include health, tourism, land management, arts and union representation. The breadth of advocates indicates clear social licence to make a class A/B Weed Declaration. The Minister is currently considering her decision. Buffel grass threatens to infest 70% of the continent.

“This country is suffering, I plead with you Minister, please declare buffel grass a weed. Declaring buffel grass will pave the way for action at a national level. Buffel needs to be considered a Weed of National Significance, and recognised as a standalone key threatening process nationally.”

“We would love to go out in the country and map the extent of the buffel grass invasion.” said Garth Forrester

Arid Lands Environment Centre staff, and Maureen Jipiyiliya Nampijinpa O’Keefe discussed water allocation plans with Minister Worden. They raised serious concerns about the draft water allocation plan for the Western Davenport Water Control District, which includes the controversial Singleton groundwater extraction licence. See ALEC submission here.

“The draft Western Davenport plan simply allocates far too much water for extraction. The Central Plains area is noted for its large trees such as ghost gums and bloodwoods. These trees rely on shallow groundwater. They are groundwater dependent ecosystems which support entire communities of plants and animals. They will be allowed to be destroyed over a stretch of land at least 100 km long.” said Adrian Tomlinson, CEO Arid Lands Environment Centre.

The Western Davenport Water Allocation committee meeting meets tomorrow 14 Dec 2023

For more on the Water Justice Project see:

Media Liaison Meret MacDonald 0456 475 810

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