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Thorny Newsletter: November edition

We hope you're enjoying this magnificent rain, and that you've had a chance to head down to the riverbank and watch it flow. The ALEC team are back at our office on 90 Gap Rd. Drop in and say hi! 

The Environment Minister Eva Lawler is required to make her decision on the Singleton Station water licence Monday 15 November. The unprecedented scale of this development cannot be understated. Documents obtained through Freedom of Information laws show that the NT government secretly negotiated to change the water rules to allow this licence to proceed.   

ALEC has argued that the water licence was granted on unlawful grounds and will continue to fight to see it scrapped. Please contribute to the campaign with a donation.

Policy update

The NT Government has continued their heavy load of environmental regulatory reform with a focus on water, greenhouse gas emissions and Parks. Recently, ALEC has procuded a number of critical submissions which will become key Government policies over the next few months. 

  • NT Government’s draft greenhouse gas emissions offset policy. This policy is critical to addressing emissions produced by fracking in the Northern Territory. The policy fails to ensure that emissions produced in the NT will be directly offset. 
  • Parks Masterplan Discussion Paper - a new 30-year vision for Territory Parks. The Plan significantly undervalues conservation and biodiversity values. Instead, it focuses heavily on how to build the economic value of NT Parks, while posturing whether the parks estate should be reduced. 
  • Western Davenport’s Water Allocation Plan Review. This review process was an opportunity to emphasise ALEC’s concerns with the current plan, and make recommendations for a new plan that is evidence-based, and supported by a rigorous regulatory environment that is fit for purpose. Weaknesses in the current plan have led to the approval of the Singleton Station water licence.
  • Strategic Regional Environment and Baseline Assessment Cost Recovery mechanism. ALEC stated that the NT Government shouldn’t be carrying the financial risk of funding the SREBA upfront - that is the responsibility of oil and gas corporations.


A grid of the future is on the way...

Alice Springs Future Grid is tri­al­ling the North­ern Territory’s first res­i­den­tial Vir­tu­al Pow­er Plant (VPP). The tri­al will look at how a VPP can increase the amount of clean energy in the Alice Springs Power system while keeping the electricity grid sta­ble. ALEC are working on the community-facing elements of this project.

Sign ups for house­holds who have rooftop solar, or solar with a bat­tery sys­tem, are now open!

In other Future Grid news, the SODAR (Sonic Detection And Ranging) equipment for a wind monitoring trial has been installed at the Desert Knowledge precinct. The wind data from this study will be used to assess whether improvements in efficiency and costs of wind turbines mean that wind power could be added to the renewable energy mix for our town.

One year of the Westside Garden

Kaz and Paola getting the job done at one of the regular working bees. Check the Facebook for working bee times.

IT’S ONE YEAR ALREADY and we have so much to celebrate! Preparations are underway for the installation of our irrigation system and compost toilet! Thanks to everyone who’s contributed to our progress... you know who you are. A special shout out to our hand-watering team who’ve kept everything growing so abundantly. We’re delighted to see fresh, locally grown produce being harvested already.

The design is coming together; we’ve tackled buffel and keep tackling couch grass; made compost and set up a worm farm to ensure our soil is fertile; planted loads of natives; run compost and wicking bed workshops and chilled at our EcoFair Wrap up event! Our committee has worked hard to establish our vision, values and purpose and we’ll be ready for membership sign-ups early in 2022. We hope to see you in the garden soon.

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Help protect groundwater dependant ecosystems!

Many of our unique and iconic arid ecosystems rely on groundwater for their water needs. Unsustainable use of groundwater aquifers puts native plants and animals at risk.  

Help raise awareness of the need to protect these special local places by sending in your photo!

1. Take a photo in nature

2. Send it to [email protected] explaining why groundwater dependant ecosystems should be protected



Update from the Aird Edge

Olive Pink Trail

The Arid Edge Team has been working with Olive Pink Botanic Gardens on improving the Tharrarletneme/Annie Myers HIll Trail. The team focused on improving the steps to increase accessibility for all ages to take in the beautiful views of Coolibah Swamp and out across to the Tjoritja/East MacDonnell Ranges from the top of the ridge. Great job James, Piers, Paddy from Arid Edge who worked with Jerome from Olive Pink.

Photo: AEES - Tharrarletneme/Annie Myers HIll Trail with new steps and improved water drainage - October 2021

Urremerne Outstation 

Arid Edge has been working for Central Land Council with Traditional Owners and Residents of Urremerne Outstation on landscaping designs to make the outstation more comfortable and sustainable for Residents and Families. Arid Edge has completed consultation meetings and site visits with Traditional Owners and Residents to understand how environmental factors are impacting living on the Outstation and designing landscaping to mitigate these impacts. Alex Vaugn from ALEC came and gave To’s and residents a brief presentation on how climate change will likely impact the outstation and surrounding country.

Photo: CLC - Arid Edge Team mapping insights from Urremerne Residents at Consultation Meeting - October 2021

Yuelamu Food Gardens

Arid Edge has been invited by the GMACC Committee to complete a scoping stage to assess if a food garden is viable in Yuelamu Community. With support from Central Land Council, Arid Edge has completed a consultation visit meeting with Traditional Owners, Residents and Service Providers to understand where the garden could be located and what the community wants to see in the garden. Arid Edge is now assessing findings to understand how a food garden could work with the water restrictions in Yuelamu.

Photo: AEES - Arid Edge Team with Yuelamu Community Members at North Side Park for a community consultation meeting - November 2021.

Why I volunteer

"In such a short time, I have received the most amazing support, encouragement and / or inspiration from organisations in Alice Springs... Volunteering has put me on one of the steepest learning curves of my life and I have developed so many new understandings and skills."

Jaqueline Arnold has been nominated for the NT Volunteer of the Year Awards 2021. We wish Jacqui the best of luck!



First Nations Clean Energy Network launch

Original Power its inviting people to the FIRST NATIONS CLEAN ENERGY NETWORK, which will ensure First Nations people play a central role and harness the opportunities from Australia’s renewable energy boom. ☀☀☀☀☀☀

Working together, the Network will see First Nations people exert our power and strategically position ourselves to ensure energy production is secure, accessible and sustainable for generations to come.

Community Tree Planting event

Join the local Sikh community and Arid Lands Environment Centre for an afternoon of fun, games and conversation about nature and faith as part of a celebration of the 551th anniversary of the birth of Sikhism's founder, Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.  Take home a seedling, share a meal, participate in games and a quiz and converse with people from different communities.

November 27, 2021 at 5-8 PM | Olive Pink Botanic Garden

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