NT environmentalists are calling on the Gunner Government to dismiss a cotton industry proposal that they say could cost taxpayers $10 million, kill river systems and deplete water resources.
This week, Environment Centre NT launched a new campaign to “keep cotton out of the Territory”.
A case has been put forward by the NT Farmers Association to build a large-scale cotton gin which they say would inject $22 million into the economy each year.
According to their business plan, cotton growing trials produced over 4,500 bales last year by five growers in the Northern Territory and Kimberley regions.
However, Jason Fowler from the Environment Centre NT labelled the trials a “fail”, saying that figure is not nearly enough.
“To make the cotton gin viable you need to put through at least 55,000 bales in a year – to grow 55,000 bales of cotton a year you need an enormous amount of land and an enormous amount of water,” he said.
Cotton crops use significant amounts of water and in most cases that water is irrigated from rivers and aquifers.