I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you, your family and friends all the very best for the festive season. I also wanted to thank you for your on-going support for ALEC. It's been a big year for the team and we're looking forward to a well-earned break over the Christmas/New Year period.
The new ALEC Board has hit the ground running and to reflect this, my position at ALEC is no longer as Director....my position has been renamed to be Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and as such, Nicole Pietsch is moving up from being Communications Manager to Assistant Manager to reflect the increasing diversity of her role.
In the past few weeks there has been an onslaught of activity on the environmental front with consultation drafts on mines, planning laws and joint management of national parks being responded to by ALEC's Policy Officer, Alex Read. It has been a solid run up to the end of 2017 and we can be proud of our achievements.
Looking forward, we're likely to have a few stoushes next year as a few controversial projects get further along the development timeline and opportunities developing in renewables and recycling:
- With the NTEPA recommending approval of the proposed Tellus Chandler Salt Mine and Toxic Waste project by the Environment Minister subject to 19 recommendations. Traditional Owners have opposed the project to date and ALEC will continue to speak out about the risks of this project https://ntepa.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/465435/assessment_report_chandler_facility.pdf
- The NT Government released the Roadmap to Renewables at the end of November https://roadmaptorenewables.nt.gov.au/?a=460760 . The report outlines 11 Recommendations for the Northern Territory to run on 50% renewable energy by 2030. There are many opportunities here for Alice Springs and ALEC will continue to advocate for and work on developing opportunities to increase renewable energy options for central Australians.
- The Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) was released last week. At over 800 pages and 120 recommendations, the fracking inquiry has recommended that fracking can be managed to reduce the risks to aquifers and communities. ALEC has strong concerns about this and will be responding in time. The reports can be downloaded here. https://frackinginquiry.nt.gov.au/inquiry-reports.
- Proposed Coal to gas projects in the Perdirka Basin, south and east of Apatula (Finke) will have impacts on Dalhousie Springs, National Heritage site in South Australia's Witjira National Park. ALEC will be upping the ante on these projects and pressuring the NT Government to stop them from advancing. http://www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au/factsheets/coal-resource-development-and-water-resources-pedirka-subregion
- The Alice Springs Town Council (of which I am now a Councillor), has announced that kerbside recycling will be introduced to Alice Springs in July 2018 http://www.alicesprings.nt.gov.au/council/news/2017-12-14/kerbside-recycling-arrives-july-2018 ALEC will continue to push for food waste composting and exploring opportunities for local processing of recyclate now that China has an import ban on foreign waste http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-10/china-ban-on-foreign-rubbish-leaves-recycling-industry-in-a-mess/9243184
- Also, ALEC's role in the Ten Deserts project will be continued as funding commitments are confirmed in the first half of next year.
That's a snapshot as to where we are environmentally recently the ALEC team has realised that we have also been so focused on environmental outcomes that we will need to seriously ramp up fundraising in the new year...if you're not already at Desert Defender - please consider making regular tax deductible donations to ALEC https://aridlands.nationbuilder.com/desert_defenders.
On behalf of all of us here at ALEC, have a wonderful festive season with family, friends here or elsewhere. Looking forward to another year with the best* little environment centre in Australia.
* purely a subjective assessment