Northern Territory

A powerful gathering of Indigenous leaders and community members from across the Northern Territory marched together in the remote town of Elliott on October 7.

The gathering — Kudij Karrilyi: Stand Strong for Country — pledged to ensure the region’s land, water and culture are kept strong and healthy for future generations to enjoy.

They were there to highlight the underground and surface water connections in the Beetaloo gas basin, an area spanning about one-third of the Northern Territory, which has been targeted for hydraulic fracturing gasfield development.

Some 50 people rallied outside the Northern Territory Labor Party conference on March 25 to demand NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner keep his promise to ban fracking in the territory.

The Labor government came into power in the NT in a landslide on August 27. Among the many promises Labor made was a commitment to a moratorium on hydraulic fracking until the process is proven to be safe.

New laws to legalise abortions were passed by the Northern Territory parliament on March 21. The bill passed by 20 votes to four after a lengthy and emotional debate.

The new laws mean the NT joins the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania in decriminalising abortion and stands in stark contrast to NSW and Queensland, which have Australia’s most restrictive abortion legislation.

The shocking abuse suffered by children in Darwin's Don Dale detention centre revealed by the ABC's Four Corners on July 25 has angered wide layers of the community. It has also prompted a nationwide demand to take immediate action against the perpetrators and ensure that nothing like this can ever happen again in the juvenile detention system.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's decision to call a narrowly focused royal commission into Northern Territory youth detention centres has been met with justifiable scepticism and criticism.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles announced a new policy on Facebookfor the Territory election in August on May 14. The policy, called “Knowledge Territory”, promises $500 education vouchers if the Territory receives royalty payments from onshore gas fracking.

The ALP has announced it will declare a moratorium on fracking if it wins the election and this is Giles’ latest attempt to sell the Country Liberal Party’s position of supporting gas fracking across the Territory.

The Northern Territory has the highest rate of youth detention in the country, six times the national average. Of those detained in the juvenile justice system 97% are Aboriginal youth.

There have been a number of reports and investigations in the past two years into the treatment of Aboriginal youth in custody. They show that by deliberate design and policy Aboriginal youth are treated in a barbarous, inhumane and illegal way.

More than 300 people, and 22 horses, marched on the Northern Territory parliament on September 15 to demand a moratorium on unconventional gas production in the NT as part of the Our Land is Our Life rally.

The rally was organised by Frack-free NT and included contingents from Aboriginal communities, unions, farmers and environment groups.

Larrikeyah elder June Mills opened with a fiery welcome to country and a smoking ceremony, condemning what she called “white man’s law” that threatened water supplies and livelihoods.

Aboriginal traditional owners and the Protect Arnhem Land community campaign, based in the town of Maningrida, Northern Territory, are seeking the assistance of environment groups and Indigenous networks in Sydney to help raise awareness of the threat to Arnhem Land from oil and gas exploration.

Five traditional owners are travelling from Maningrida to Sydney in mid-July and are holding a public protest in Martin Place outside the offices of exploration company Paltar Petroleum.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills announced a deal on February 8 to secure power for the Nhulunbuy bauxite mine and alumina refinery. The deal was hailed as saving the community through protecting the industry that provides it with half its jobs.

But the decision has disastrous environmental impacts and shows the lack of choices available to remote communities under the logic of the mining market. To survive, communities are asked to provide public funds to private companies to perform environmentally damaging activity.

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