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Environmental approvals

The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was lodged with the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority (NTEPA) in November 2021 and was available for public comment until 14 January 2022. The NT Government will lodge a supplementary to the EIS to address the comments made. Once accepted by the NT EPA, the supplementary will be available on the NT EPA website.

Read the draft EIS on the NT EPA website.

Referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 was lodged and accepted by Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) in November 2021 and went on public exhibition until 25 November 2021.

In December 2021, DAWE determined that the project was a ‘controlled action’, sighting migratory birds and threatened marine fauna species as the grounds for this decision.

In February 2022, DAWE provided advice that the project will be assessed by preliminary documentation.

Public comments are now open on the Darwin Ship Lift Project Draft Preliminary Documentation from 29 September 2022 to 26 October 2022.


The Territory Government has appointed Clough–BMD joint venture as the preferred contractor to design and construct the Darwin ship lift.

As a key piece of enabling infrastructure, the ship lift will establish Darwin as a key maritime maintenance hub and create the opportunity to grow a thriving marine service and supply sector in Darwin to create jobs and grow businesses and is key to establishing a marine services precinct at East Arm.

Clough–BMD joint venture has demonstrated capacity to deliver key infrastructure projects in the Territory and combines local knowledge with global expertise.

The selection of Clough-BMD joint venture follows a 3-stage procurement process which spanned 2 years.


The Northern Territory Government is delivering the Darwin ship lift to establish Darwin as a thriving maritime services industry hub, capitalising on the Territory’s strategic position in the Asia Pacific region and enabling the future marine industry park development.

The Darwin Ship Lift Facility will be designed to meet the needs of the general maritime sector and the current and long-term needs of the Department of Defence and the Australian Border Force, while supporting local jobs and economic growth in the Territory.

Once operational the facility will be a catalyst for the development of a marine maintenance and servicing industry, and the creation of many new jobs.

The common user ship lift facility will include:

  • a ship lift 26m wide, 103m long and 6m deep
  • lifting capability of 5,000 tonnes
  • wet berths (wharves)
  • additional hard stand area for ship repair and maintenance works.

The ship lift will have the capacity to lift vessels such as the new fleet of offshore patrol vessels procured by the Australian Defence Force.

The Darwin Ship Lift Facility will be a common user facility, which will enable vessel owners to choose and manage their own service and maintenance providers. This will also enable multiple providers to operate concurrently at the facility.

The ship lift is a common user facility that will operate on a commercial basis. There will be a legislated open access regime to ensure fair and equal use for all customers. Pricing and access will be overseen by the independent Utilities Commission. Construction is anticipated to take two years, becoming operational in 2024.

For general enquiries regarding the project, email

Concept image of the ship liftConcept image of the ship lift

Updated 29 September 2022