Press Release - May 2, 2024

Urgent bid to protect Lee Point from destruction

A Traditional Owner has submitted an urgent application seeking sacred sites protection for Binybara -Lee Point in Darwin.

On behalf of Danggalaba Traditional Owner Tibby Quall of the Batcho family, lawyers
from Environmental Justice Australia have written to the Aboriginal Areas Protection
Authority seeking registration of sacred sites at Binybara - Lee Point.

This week bulldozers began destroying old-growth trees at Lee Point to make way for a
multi-million-dollar housing development by Defence Housing Australia.

The destruction follows the refusal by Australia's Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek
to make a declaration under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage
Protection Act to protect the area from injury or desecration.

The application states that there are sacred sites within and encompassing the
development area that should be protected under the NT Sacred Sites Act, including
the Danggalaba Dreaming track, a sacred waterway and traditional camping places and
ceremonial grounds.

The Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority has been asked to confirm that DHA will
‘pause’ works while the investigation is undertaken.

Mr Quall is also seeking an urgent meeting with the Aboriginal Areas Protection
Authority to discuss his application and an investigation into tangible Aboriginal
heritage within the area.

Alongside rich cultural heritage, Lee Point is home to rainbow coloured Gouldian
Finches, mammals, and migratory shorebirds of international significance.

Traditional Owners are calling on DHA to put the development at other available
brownfield sites, instead of destroying their cultural heritage.

Larrakia Danggalaba Traditional owner Tibby Quall said:

“We have to consider all avenues available to us to stop the bulldozers. We don't want
to see our Country destroyed.

It's devastating that Aboriginal people have to fight like this to protect our land, our
sacred sites, our culture and way of life.

It's now up to the Authority, but if we fail it will be devastating for our children.”

Larrakia Danggalaba Traditional owner Lorraine Williams said:

“The government sees this place as prime real estate, but it's about so much more. To
destroy this country, you destroy the essence of who we are as Danggalaba people.

This is one of the last places where we can teach our next generation about Larrakia
history and culture.

The area needs to be protected so we can practice our culture and share the stories of
Country with locals and visitors to Darwin.

It's our favourite place to collect bush tucker and plant medicine. This is the last food
bowl we have close to Darwin, and it's being bulldozed.

Our Old People fought to protect Darriba Nunggalinya and now we're fighting to protect
his wife Binybara. Women's sites are sacred too.”

EJA Special Counsel Danya Jacobs said:

“Our client has submitted an application to have sacred sites at Lee Point registered for
protection, so it's important and appropriate for DHA to halt work until the application
has been resolved.

Land clearing should cease while the application is being considered, to allow the
Authority to properly assess the sacred sites identified by our client before they are
destroyed by DHA.

We’ve seen corporations destroy sacred Aboriginal heritage time and time again. Our
client hopes the Authority will urgently investigate his application to protect sacred
sites on his Country.