Environment & Heritage

The Northern Territory Government negotiated with land councils and pastoralists to buy the 1420 kilometre sliver of railway corridor, with compensation payments of $22 million.

The Northern and Central Land Councils were given equity in the railway project and a key legacy of construction was the large number of Aboriginal people employed and trained, particularly in the Tennant Creek and Katherine sleeper factories.

The Northern Territory took responsibility for environmental and heritage approvals.  Sacred site certificates were obtained for a 200 metre wide corridor along the line and in some cases the route was varied to avoid sites of significance to local traditional owners.

The project saw the cataloguing of stone artefacts collected from 27 archaeological sites within the railway corridor. A detailed database of the collection represents a significant contribution to archaeological knowledge of Aboriginal settlement patterns, subsistence economies and the prehistory of the Northern Territory.

The area of the Gouldian Finch wet season feeding habitat affected by construction of the railway was reestablished using plants from a nursery set up before construction.  ADrail, with help from Greening Australia and the Kybrook Farm Community at Pine Creek, rehabilitated the site at Yinberrie Hills, about 50 kilometres north of Katherine.