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Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation withdraws support for Binybara/Lee Point development

Callan Morse -

Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation, the peak representative body of Darwin's Larrakia people has withdrawn its support for Defence Housing Australia's Binybara/Lee Point housing project.

It comes after work at the north Darwin site ceased until at least August 11 after lawyers representing a Larrakia Traditional Owner filed an emergency application to federal environment minister Tanya Plibersek's office earlier this month.

Larrakia Nation provided a letter of support for the project in 2021, however withdrew its support after concerns were raised by Elders regarding the project's impact on areas of cultural significance.

"Recently, important, and prominent Elders of our Nation, Aunty Lorraine Williams, Uncle Tibby Quall and Uncle Eric Fejo, raised concern regarding the project, identifying significant areas of cultural heritage on the site," Larrakia Nation said in a statement.

"We are also aware that full and appropriate consultation was not completed on the project as purported by the authorities."

Larrakia Nation supported the development in 2021 whilst under the impression that appropriate consultation with Traditional Owners had occurred during the project's feasibility stage between 2014 and 2018, and that the issuance of an Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) Certificate to the Lee Point Project had occurred.

However since the consultation period, Traditional Owners and environmentalists have continued to raise concerns about the impact of the development on sites of cultural significance including the Kenbi Dreaming track and the Gouldian finch, which is listed as endangered according to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

A recent statement released by Defence Housing Australia said it remained committed to working with Larrakia Nation on the proposed Lee Point development, saying the project would provide much needed housing for both Defence families and the broader Darwin community.

Larrakia Nation said it strongly supports appropriate consultation and all claims made by Larrakia, regarding country, culture and language – whether those claims were made at the time of provision of an AAPA Certificate or not.

"We reserve the right to withdraw support for any project on our lands, should our members and families raise legitimate claims," Larrakia Nation said.

"Therefore, the Board of Directors on behalf of the Larrakia Nation, our families, our Country, and our culture, formally withdraw our support for the Lee Point Project.

"We stand with our people. #LarrakiaFirst #SaveLeePoint."

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