NT take renewed
A controversial water extraction licence has been quietly renewed.
A licence allowing the extraction of 5,800 megalitres was awarded under NT’s Country Liberal Party government to former station owner Tina MacFarlane in 2013.
Ms MacFarlane ran for federal parliament with the party in the same year, and sold the station in the outback town of Mataranka for a reported $5.5 million to a forestry company, which uses the property to grow Indian sandalwood trees.
Earlier this year, it appears that the full licence for the property was quietly renewed for another decade under the Territory Labor government. Territory Labor condemned the licence the first time it was awarded by their political opponents.
The rural property is now on the market once more, with local real estate material calling it a "blue-ribbon irrigation development" with six bores. It is expected to sell for about $9 million.
There is no suggestion of impropriety, but environmentalists say it again highlights the Northern Territory's “fundamentally broken” water rules.
“What we're talking about is a transfer of public resources to private interests with no return to the territory taxpayer - and that is a huge problem,” says Kirsty Howey from the Environment Centre NT.