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Media Release

Fortune Agribusiness

8 April 2021

 

Grant of Singleton Groundwater Extraction Licence

Fortune Agribusiness welcomes the grant of a groundwater extraction licence from the NT Controller of Water Resources on behalf of the NT Government today. It is an important next step in the approvals process for this project.

 

We applied for the licence in 2015 and appreciate the rigorous scientific and consultative approach the Government has worked through with us and the community in reaching their decision to grant the licence.  In implementing the conditions of the licence, Fortune Agribusiness commits to a scientifically robust and transparent approach.

 

The grant of water in an incremental and staged manner will provide valuable information to the community, regulators and ourselves as well as provide the project with the necessary security that is crucial to investment. 

 

The licence is based on a number of stages with water to be allocated in an incremental manner over the eight year development program. Each increment will be considered in the light of further rigorous scientific assessment, the results of which will be publicly available, before the next stage is allocated. We see this as a sensible approach to properly manage this shared resource, in an environmentally sustainable way through the Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan.

 

We note that the aquifer we are drawing from has a modelled storage volume of 138,314GL.  The maximum 40GL/Year withdrawal that the licence anticipates represents less than 0.03% per annum of the overall aquifer volume. The licence also requires that an ongoing environmental monitoring program is put in place to ensure environment protection thresholds are not exceeded.  This program, which we want to develop in partnership with the NTG and the local indigenous community, will focus heavily on the aquifer itself as well as sensitive groundwater dependent ecosystems in the region.

 

We thank the NTG for addressing  a  broad range of issues that were raised during the two year community consultation stage in developing the Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan and the transparent allocation mechanisms that have supported this decision. We will continue to engage with our stakeholders, neighbours and the broader regional community to ensure that factual information on the project is easily available as we seek to maximise local economic and job opportunities. 

 

We also wish to ensure specific and explicit benefits flow to native title holders and the local and regional indigenous communities. We want to maximise job and training opportunities, indigenous business opportunities and broader social and community benefits. We believe there is also an opportunity for the project to create infrastructure that will benefit indigenous economic aspirations in the local area, especially in horticulture. 

 

Now that the water extraction licence has been granted we will work to get the remaining approvals as soon as practicable, including formal approval from the NT EPA.  In parallel, we will complete the detailed planning for the first stage development which we hope to commence in mid 2022.

For more information, please download the Fact Sheet

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