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Turtle Times Newsletter October 2021

Message from our Co-Directors, Shar and Kirsty

As we approach the end of the year, our work shows no sign of slowing down, but thankfully our team is growing in response to the increasing threats to the Territory’s environment. 

We are overjoyed to welcome Jason Fowler as our new energy campaigner, and Naish Gawen as our communications and engagement officer. They are both immensely skilled and passionate and have hit the ground running. We are very lucky to have them working towards the Environment Centre NT’s vision of a future where the Territory’s nature thrives.

We’ve been celebrating a big win, with the first ever referral of a land clearing application in the Territory for assessment under the Environment Protection Act.  This is for a huge cotton development in the Beetaloo Basin, the biggest we’ve seen yet in the Territory. This achievement is thanks to supporters like you who have kept up the pressure on land clearing for many years.

In September, we visited Borroloola for McArthur River Mine campaign planning with Jack Green, Josie Davey Green and other members of Borroloola community.  We’re going to be part of a big online event with Jack and Josie, their long-time collaborator Dr Sean Kerins, and others on Wednesday 6 October 2021 at 3.30pm (Darwin time). Make sure you register to attend this important event, which will shed light on the failure of environmental and mining laws to protect the McArthur River from damage from this toxic mine. And stay tuned for more on our McArthur River Mine campaign – the next 6 months are going to be huge.

Finally, we’re asking our community to step up and tell the Gunner Government that they can’t backflip on their promise to Territorians to offset life cycle emissions from fracking. You can take action by writing a submission on the Gunner Government’s new draft greenhouse gas emissions offsets policy, by using our submission writing guide.

Thank you again for all your support.  We simply can’t do our work without you.

Climate Conversations update from Jodie

September was a busy month for the Climate Conversations program with 6 Conversations held, including 2 in Alice Springs. Our volunteer Facilitators Mia and Julie facilitated their first Conversations and received great feedback! This is a significant milestone to be celebrated. Well done Julie and Mia.  Thankyou for all the hard work you've put in to engage the people around you in important conversations about climate change.  We've also seen some fantastic uptake by participants in post-Conversation activities including general volunteering for Environment Centre NT and joining our newly formed Elected Members Engagement Group (EMEGs).  The Conversations program is building a groundswell of support for meaningful climate action in the NT.  If you'd like to join us please see our website to register your interest as a Conversation participant, Conversation Host or train to be a volunteer Conversation Facilitator.

Graeme, Tim and Tarni at a Climate Conversation @ ECNT

Savannah and Freshwater update from Jess

Parks Master Plan
The Northern Territory Government have released the Parks Master Plan for the next 30 years. Our responses to the plan are due 15 October 2021. This week we will be releasing a video which highlights our key concerns about NT parks and their role in environmental care. We will also be launching a submission for you to sign make sure to watch this space. If you care about our parks and how they will function over the next 30 years, sign our submission or draft your own and email it to [email protected] and cc [email protected].

Land Clearing
Land clearing applications are coming through thick and fast; we will continue to keep you informed and fight off as many as possible. However, the more of us responding the better. Keep an eye on emails and social media to stay up to date with the latest news about land clearing applications and help us ward off this major threat to our vulnerable ecosystems. Links to recent submissions and media releases are included at the end of this newsletter.

Elected Member Engagement Group update from Jess

The first Elected Members Engagement Group meeting was held last Thursday. A lovely group of 20 brilliant individuals attended, eager to do all they can to hold the Northern Territory Government accountable. We drafted submissions to Chief Minister Gunner regarding the Draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions Offsets Policy—draft your own submission using our guide here. The next meeting will be on October 28 from 5.15-6.30 at the Environment Centre NT office at 3/98 Woods Street. We will be creating an ongoing communication group to keep everyone interested in the loop. If you would like to be included contact Jess at [email protected].

Energy campaign update

We are very excited to welcome Jason Fowler, experienced campaigner and marine biologist, on board as an energy campaigner with the Environment Centre NT. There are many things happening in the energy space, not least of which is the Stop Barossa Gas campaign that we are running in partnership with Jubilee Australia, South-Korean based Solutions for Our Climate, and Japan Centre for a Sustainable Environment and Society. 

The NT and Commonwealth governments’ respective announcements about carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) last week have been keeping us busy. Read our media releases in response here and here.

Territory Rivers – Keep ‘Em Flowing update

We know that you’re concerned about the future health of our Territory rivers which underpin livelihoods and lifestyle.   

Our rivers are under threat from big businesses rolling out the same playbook as the Murray-Darling. They want to take huge amounts of water, and clear large areas of land. The cotton industry has their eye on the Territory for a rapid massive expansion. 

Hundreds of Territorians have already encouraged the NT Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to properly investigate the indirect and cumulative impacts a cotton gin at Tarwoo could have on our Top End river catchments. For months, industry proponents have been stating that building was due to start on this cotton gin already, it’s critical that the NT EPA hears clear calls from our communities for proper scrutiny of this proposal. This is the moment to get this right from the start, for the sake of our iconic rivers and lifestyle that make the Territory so special. 

Ask the NT Government to make sure that any new Cotton Gin is properly scrutinised.

Want to learn about the importance of freshwater flows to river health? Check out marine biologist Jason Fowler’s explanation during a recent boat trip to the Daly here.

Gamba Grass update

Gamba Grass Roots supporters have been successful in securing funding for the next year of the Gamba Army.  Territorians working hard to fight gamba on their blocks want to know the NT Government will continue funding for this important work in the years to come. To make this happen, we need to stay strong and push for more action. A good place to start is by helping to grow the Gamba Army

The risk of Gamba fuelled fires has been increasing with the hot, windy conditions as we near the end of the Dry season. Thankfully people’s efforts to remove their gamba grass during the last Wet season has made a big difference in keeping families and their homes safe over the past few months. More Territorians than ever are aware of the issue, but more needs to be done. If you do still have gamba on your property, the best thing to do is to brush cut or knock it down as this will help minimise the height of any potential fires. Slashing or mowing during the Dry season can be dangerous as any sparks could cause fires. 

The Gamba Action Program which provides free herbicide and lends spray equipment to residents managing their gamba will begin on Friday, 3rd December.

Want to help? Email us at [email protected]  to tell us your gamba success stories and find out how to get help with gamba problems.

Hundreds of Territorians have signed the ‘For the love of Litchfield’ letter. If you haven’t already you can sign it here. >>>

Keep Top End Coasts Healthy update

Help Back Our Top End Parks
The NT Government is currently reassessing the future of the Territory’s parks and reserves. If you care about our Parks, from Casuarina Coastal Reserve to Limmen Bight Marine Park, now is the chance to have your say.

Our parks provide a vital haven for native wildlife and are the backbone of our tourism industry. But in order to do a good job, our parks need proper investment and management, which is why the current park review process is so important!

Join us in showing the government that Territorians Back Our Parks!


Behind the scenes

We’ve had a busy month making submissions and writing releases in response to the rapidly developing climate, energy, and water landscape in the Territory. Aside from what has been already mentioned in this newsletter so far, here are some of the other things we’ve been working on:

Upcoming events

Talk to you soon, 

Shar, Kirsty & the team @ The Environment Centre NT

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