Northern Land Council rift threatens to further delay Blue Mud Bay decision

Updated December 04, 2018 11:07:26

Photo: There is a dispute over mining interests in Blue Mud Bay in east Arnhem Land. (Supplied: Google Maps)

Fierce tensions within the Northern Land Council (NLC) are threatening the chance to resolve the Blue Mud Bay dispute, which would end a decade of uncertainty over fishing restrictions across the Northern Territory coastline.

A letter obtained by the ABC has revealed a splintering between forces inside the NLC, with the council’s Sea Country Working Group threatening to pull out of today’s final negotiations, which the group’s members have said would make any decision “unconstitutional” and “invalid”.

The letter, sent by the Sea Country Working Group, to NT Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Vowles and his federal counterpart, Nigel Scullion, says the NLC executive council’s Helen Lee told the group not to show up at today’s meeting.

“The Sea Country Working Group … advise that … the meeting, [if it] proceeds without the attendance of the Sea Country Working Group, is unconstitutional and is in breach of the procedures and the motions which the Full Council passed in regards to the Blue Mud Bay negotiations,” the letter reads.