The recent news – see the grab below – that a group of southern Fly-In-and then later Fly-Out workers were threatening not to return to work in the Northern Territory was met with entirely predictable responses from Territorians.

We’ve never really liked being told what to do and how by any “Southerners”, let alone a bunch of elite Southern medical workers.

The article – by Alex Treacy in yesterday’s print edition of the NT News – concerned a letter to Federal Assistant Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite (try repeating that three times!) from a group of medical workers claiming they wouldn’t be coming back to work in the NT’s hospitals anytime soon.

The closest that I can see as a reason why they’re refusing to come back to work up here is that it looks like the proposed development of 800 or so houses at Lee Point in Darwin’s northern suburbs will go ahead.

Or something like that.

A case of NIYBY-ism? (Not In Your Back Yard)

I’m calling it! The medical workers’ letter is an example of the new phenomenon I’m calling “NIYBY-ism” (Not In Your Back Yard) – a variation on the well-known trope of NIMBY-ism – where people from a long way away think they can tell you what to do on your patch.

“We’ll all be rooned …”

According to the NT News, the medical workers were concerned the Defence Housing Australia (DHA) development threatened to shred the “cultural, biodiversity and tourism” prospects of the NT.

The group – led by medical doctor Amy Reid and her co-signatory and husband Dr Matthew Elliott, claim the development will threaten the “endangered” Gouldian Finch (it most definitely isn’t endangered, see my earlier pieces on this furphy here and here); that decision-makers ignored the wishes of the Larrakia traditional Aboriginal owners (they did not) and that so-called “old-growth forest and unique forestry found nowhere else in the world” [sic] would be imperilled (the presence of old-growth woodland on the site is disputed and the Lee Point site is but a mere fraction of the eucalypt & acacia woodlands that surround Darwin and stretch to the horizons to the east, west and south).

“My husband and I, alongside my colleagues …”

Putting aside the vaguely regal tone, that is how Dr Reid prefaces her indication that she, her husband and their colleagues were “less likely to return our services to Darwin if this project [Lee Point] continues” (don’t worry about Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Nhulunbuy and the hundreds of remote communities where the need for specialist and GP services is greater than in the relatively well-serviced capital of the NT) “which [the withdrawal of their services] is a loss for the local community as there is already a shortage of health professionals and high levels of chronic disease in the NT.”

“This is not the Darwin we want to live and work in.”

The NT News report adds that Drs Elliott and Reid are joined as co-signatories to the letter to Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite (go on, try, I dare you!) by Doctors Victoria Cox, Dana Mooney, Caitlin Robson-Hamond, Ania Nguyen, Hannah Bills, Ella Heggan, and Jazmin Fischer.

Meh? … with a broad streak of snark.

As noted above, the responses from Territorians were pretty a solid “Meh?” … with a broad streak of snark and the occasional bothsides-ist comment.

Here are some samples.

For mine “The Observer’s” comment gets a 10/10 mark for snark value.

They loved the NT so much that they left. No credibility

I suspect that the 14 folks that gave a solid Thumbs Up for “Peter’s” comment weren’t exactly alone.

The arrogance of these people is absolutely breathtaking.

“Ian’s” comment (lightly edited for length) was high on both snark value and substantive response.

What a load of…! They aren’t in Darwin and most likely never had any intention of returning as their ‘woke’ views are not shared by the vast majority of the realists who live here … If they’d been serious about working in the NT they would still be here! … Good Doctors (when they are qualified) don’t try to use their positions to assume a position of superiority in an att5empt [sic] to impress the general populace, nor do they try to use a misguided, and pre-adolescent semi-blackmail threat to try to make their opinions assume a visage of value or worth.

“Phillip” reckoned the good doctors were …

… more concerned about stopping development than caring about patients.

I reckon “Laurie” could get a job writing stand-up comedy scripts …

I hope they know more about medicine than they do about Lee Point.

Finally – for now at least – “Kevin’s” comment makes the obvious point about the convenience of the nearby DHA developments that are immediate neighbours to the proposed development.

Let’s look at the two closest developments. Muirhead and Lyons. How many long term Territory healthcare professionals live there? The answer is a lot. Who is likely going to buy up this development, you guessed it. Long term Darwin healthcare professionals and a few politicians. These signatories came to Darwin to tick a rural remote box. They then chose to leave. Not worth giving them airtime.

NT News, 17 April 2024