The Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC), Central Australia’s peak environmental organisation has called the NT Budget a ‘climate warming budget that puts mining and gas profits ahead of Territorians and our iconic wildlife and landscapes.’
The NT budget is cutting funds to:
Cleaning up legacy mines ($5M → $1M)
Implementing the fracking recommendations ($1.7M→ $0.6M)
Energy efficiency programs ($250K→ $0)
Some existing funding continues for Renewable Energy projects but none is specifically allocated to moving the much anticipated NT Climate Strategy forward.
The NT Budget focuses on building an export economy based on mining and gas exports but is falling short of their environmental commitments.
The subsidies and support for the mining and gas industry see a forecast drop in royalties over the 5 year period which is of serious concern. What are Territorians getting for their ‘government funded investments’ in these industries? It doesn’t add up.
The same week that the world is coming to terms with the extinction crisis that threatens more than a million species, the NT Government is failing to invest in research to monitor and better understand our unique and threatened species. This is at a critical time as the NTG drives a fracking agenda that will require input from the Department on baseline assessments for water, air quality and biodiversity.
ALEC supports structural reforms of the budget. We need to see integrated approaches to economic development. Joining up energy efficiency and renewables being included in homeowner grants and support for low income households. Growing the economy with renewables. We know the sun will rise tomorrow, but it is unlikely that subsidies for mining and shale gas exploration will yield significant results. The NTG needs to focus on our strengths rather than creating more weaknesses.
It is a critical time for the Territory with fracking on the horizon and we’re spending three times the amount on the Territory ‘masterbrand’ than managing the boundless pollution from fracking. We need to get our priorities right. This means focusing spending on building resilience to climate change and developing localised economic activity. Giving money to multinational mining and gas companies will not yield greater revenue in the long run.
We can grow a sustainable economy by supporting Aboriginal people to be a part of it. ALEC welcomes the additional support to indigenous rangers to manage country, but it is a small proportion of what is needed.
ALEC calls on the NTG to commit at least 1% of the NT budget to climate mitigation and adaptation. This translates to $63M through various departments to ensure that Territorians truly are put first this budget. This will pay for itself over time as we protect the people and places of the NT.