The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Territory Economic Reconstruction Committee (Commission).

We first wish to acknowledge the Northern Territory Government (NTG)’s timely and evidence-based response to COVID-19 to date, which has seen the Northern Territory avoid the scale of tragedy that is still unfolding elsewhere, and has seen it become the safest place to live in Australia.

We also commend its efforts to, in cooperation with other states/territories and the Commonwealth, to cushion individuals and small businesses from the economic impact of the “lockdown” and other restrictions.

We acknowledge the enormous challenge now facing the NTG to develop the medium- and long-term economic recovery strategy that is required.

Given EDO’s role as environmental law experts, our submission focuses on identifying legal principles that we consider essential to guide the ongoing work of the Commission and ultimately, the NTG in its plans for economic recovery. Within the framing of each of the two principles we have identified, we have outlined in brief how each may be applied in the Territory context.