2020 was the fourth warmest year on record for Australia, according to provisional data released by the Bureau of Meteorology. As Territorians swelter through another summer of record heat and the likelihood of extreme weather, action on climate change needs to be front and centre of any plan for our future. Despite this, the Morrison and Gunner Governments are pushing ahead with plans to fast-track development of the fracking industry in the Beetaloo Basin, which will add approximately 5% to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
We are still in recovery mode from the pandemic and own Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission (TERC) released their Final Report in December. While there was a positive focus on renewable energy and Aboriginal-led economic development, the TERC emphasised an economic recovery based on gas extraction and petro-chemical development. Developing these industries is inconsistent with achieving the Territory’s net-zero emissions target by 2050.
We can no longer afford to give away our future to polluting, extractive industries like gas and big cotton that wreck our climate and pollute our waterways. Our future depends on reducing emissions now, decarbonising all sectors of the economy, safeguarding our precious groundwater supplies and adapting to the challenges of a climate-changed world.
To ensure a safe and healthy future in the arid lands, in 2021 ALEC's key focus areas are:
- Clean energy and climate justice
- Water security
- Campaigning to ban fracking
- Strengthening environmental laws
- Conservation and land management
- Living sustainably in the desert
To do this, we will continue to build on our successes from our solid 40 year history and focus on the important issues, including:
- Developing our 10 year strategic plan to guide our work towards ‘healthy futures for arid lands and people’ for the decade ahead
- Delaying the development of the gas industry in the NT and growing investment in renewables
- Developing the Westside community garden and supporting others to get started
- Pushing for better protection of public drinking water and sustainable allocations across the arid lands
- Working to support buffel grass planning and management in the Great Victoria Desert as part of the 10 Deserts Project and supporting local activities. An on country workshop in the APY lands is being planned
- Supporting the development of a new ranger team through Arid Edge Environmental Services and Tangentyere Council
- Climate adaptation and climate justice across the desert country - both policy and practical solutions.
- Pushing local governments to lead on climate adaptation and action
- Advocate for the protection of nature and make sure we have an informed and active community
- Delivering on the Alice Springs Future Grid Community Solutions project with batteries installed in houses to support grid stability and Alice Springs residents becoming some of the most energy savvy customers in Australia
- Growing our capability on land management, community master planning, sustainable design as Arid Edge continues to grow and support ALEC
- Grow the growers network of Alice Springs through Food for Alice and reviewing and updating the Alice Springs Vegie Garden Companion
- Holding the NT Government to account as it develops the second tranche of environmental law reforms and ensuring the climate response is real
- Working with partners from around the country to ensure the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiverstity Conservation Act is fit for purpose
- Growing the diversity of our movement locally to ensure we can deliver on our vision
Diligence is required to stand up for water, biodiversity, country, climate and the people of the arid lands. We hope you will join us throughout 2021 as we continue this important work to protect the deserts and our future here.