28.07.2023 | Lee Point/Binybara project 🏑 🚜

Jul 28, 2023 2:46 am

We protect what we love


FRIDAY 28.07.2023.

Good morning friends!

We've had a lovely week here at FWP headquarters. Paige has been exploring the backcountry of Kosciusko National Park, Linda has been hiking near the North Baltic channel in Germany, Mariela has been exploring the Blue Mountains with their cousin from the UK and Will has been exploring local Illawarra escarpment trails.


Will and his dad (pictured) at Brokers Nose, Dharawal country.

In this week's newsletter, we provide you with a summary of the Lee Point defence housing project, including what the project is, the impact it will have on local wildlife and what you can do. The project was approved in 2019, and the first stage of land clearing began earlier this month. We also touch on the history and significance of the Gouldian Finch, a critically endangered species in the area.

We hope you enjoy this week's read.

✌🏽 ✌🏽 ✌🏽


The impacts that a Defence Housing Project is having on local wildlife and the Gouldian Finch


The first stage of land clearing has started

to take place, on Larrakia country. Source.

The Lee Point defence housing project in Darwin, Northern Territory, was approved in 2019 and has raised serious concerns about its potential impact on the region's delicate ecosystems and iconic bird species. Lee Point, known for its biodiversity and critical habitats, faces an uncertain future as the development project threatens to alter the landscape irreversibly. Despite coming to office with a mandate to end the extinction crisis, Environmental Minister, Tanya Plibersek approved the project - a heartbreaking decision for Lee Point and bird lovers alike.

What is the Lee Point defence housing project?

Defence Housing Australia describes the proposed 800-house development as a "thriving residential community of Defence families, the local community and visitors", across 131 hectares of zoned residential land. The Lee Point project, however, could lead to the destruction and fragmentation of vital wildlife habitats. The area is currently home to diverse vegetation and serves as a refuge for various local wildlife species, including the critically endangered Gouldian Finch. The project's expansion into this sensitive environment could disrupt the natural balance and pose a threat to the survival of many vulnerable plant and animal species.


An image from Binybara Camp (Lee Point), during a day of Solidarity Action with Dangalaba Kulumbirigin Elders to stop the destruction of the last remaining biodiversity corridor in Darwin. Source.

What are the impacts?

The implications of the Lee Point development on local wildlife are far-reaching. The proposed urbanisation may result in habitat loss, making it challenging for native animals to find suitable areas for breeding, foraging, and shelter. The disruption of these essential ecological processes can lead to population declines and, in some cases, extinction of species that are already struggling to survive in the face of other environmental pressures.

Impact on Gouldian Finch

Among the affected wildlife, the Gouldian Finch faces a particularly precarious situation. As an iconic and strikingly beautiful bird species, the Gouldian Finch is already classified as critically endangered. The potential destruction of its nesting and feeding grounds at Lee Point could have devastating consequences for its already dwindling population. The loss of suitable habitats, combined with other threats such as climate change and feral predators, exacerbates the challenges these finches encounter to survive and reproduce.


The Gouldian Finch (aka, the Rainbow Finch). Source.

The history and significance of the Gouldian Finch

The Gouldian Finch, scientifically known as Erythrura gouldiae, is a stunningly colourful and small passerine bird native to Australia's northern regions. Named after the renowned British ornithologist John Gould, who extensively studied and illustrated the bird, the Gouldian Finch holds significant importance both in the scientific community and among avian enthusiasts.

Historically, these finches were abundant throughout the savannahs and woodlands of northern Australia, particularly in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Top End of the Northern Territory, and parts of Queensland. They were cherished for their vibrant plumage, which comes in three distinct colour morphs: red-headed, black-headed, and yellow-headed. This striking coloration earned them the nickname "Rainbow Finch."

Unfortunately, the Gouldian Finch faced a significant decline in the wild due to habitat destruction, wildfires, and capture for the pet trade. As a result, they became critically endangered in the 20th century. Conservation efforts have been initiated to protect their natural habitats, including controlled burning practices to prevent destructive wildfires. Moreover, breeding and reintroduction programs have been established to bolster the wild population and maintain genetic diversity.


Lee point/Binybara biodiversity corridor. Source.

Beyond their ecological significance, the Gouldian Finch has become a symbol of hope for the conservation of Australian wildlife. Their plight has raised awareness about the importance of preserving natural habitats and has sparked interest in aviculture, leading to responsible captive breeding programs worldwide. With their captivating beauty and charismatic behaviour, the Gouldian Finch continues to captivate bird enthusiasts and researchers alike, serving as a testament to the need for wildlife conservation efforts to protect Australia's unique biodiversity.

What you can do

Overall, the Lee Point defence housing project presents a significant threat to the local wildlife and particularly to the critically endangered Gouldian Finch. Preserving the ecological integrity of this unique area is crucial to safeguard the biodiversity and natural heritage of the region. Efforts to balance development and conservation are essential to protect these sensitive ecosystems and ensure a sustainable future for wildlife and the community. Awareness, advocacy, and responsible planning are imperative to mitigate the impacts of urbanisation and pave the way for a harmonious coexistence between development and nature.

A We Are Explores article details some key things that you can do:

Contact a Minister: If you don’t live near Binybara / Lee Point, give a minister a call and tell them the Darwin community doesn’t want Defence Housing Australia to develop Binybara / Lee Point. 

  • Environmental Minister, Tanya Plibersek – (02) 6277 7920
  • Defence Minister, Richard Marles – (02) 62777800
  • Assistant Minister for Defence, Matt Thistlethwaite (responsible for Defence Housing Australia) – (02) 62774840

(Note: Calling a Minister isn't as intimidating as it sounds. Most likely, it will go through to voicemail, so you can leave a message along the lines of 'Hi, my name is X and I live in X. I am incredibly concerned about the land clearing taking place on Lee Point, because of X, Y and Z (ie. habitat of the already endangered Gouldian Finch, loss of biodiversity, environmental/social impacts etc.) and ask that you review the Defence Housing Project. [If you want to go into more detail, go for it, but this is sufficient.] If you would like to speak to me further about the issue, you can reach me on X. Thank you.)

Critical mass is critical for projects like this - if a Minister's office is inundated with phone calls, they can't (or shouldn't!) ignore it (politicians are public servants after all) and will have* to address the matter. (*Ideally... the outcome may not change, but at least you've made your opposition clear).

Follow Larrakia Locals: Follow @uprisingofthepeopleltd and @envirocentrent for on-the-ground information on what’s happening at Binybara / Lee Point.

🏑 🚜 🏑


In next week's newsletter, we'll introduce you to our August Trail Chat guest, Pat Farmer, and bring you an exciting update on the East Gipplsand Ultra.

And as always, thank you for taking the time, for wild places.

Elanor (she/her) & the For Wild Places team



We acknowledge the the First Nations people who have been custodians of land, waters and culture for tens of thousands of years. We pay respects to First Nations Elders past, present and emerging.

This email was written on Gadigal land of the Eora nation. To these people, we pay our respects.

Always was, always will be.