Message from our Co-Directors, Shar and Kirsty
This month, we want to sing your praises. In the shadow of the COP26 meeting currently taking place in Glasgow, Territorians have been standing up and holding gas companies and the Government to account on climate action like never before.
We’d like to spotlight a few groups in particular.
First, Charlie and many others from Climate Action Darwin continued their amazing work rallying the troops to support the School Strike 4 Climate on Larrakia country on 14 October 2021. This was a truly inspiring event, with Territorians of all ages, stages and backgrounds converging on Parliament House to demand strong climate action.
Alana, Alice and Cara from the Australian Parents 4 Climate Action are a force to be reckoned with – obtaining commitments from the Chief Minister regarding offsetting fracking emissions in the Beetaloo, convincing Northern Territory bureaucrats to hold a public forum about the Territory’s draft offsets policy, and organising a snap protest action to demand “no new gas” as gas executives met at the Darwin Convention Centre. They are unstoppable.
Lastly, we’d like to thank our amazing Jess Black, Naish Gawen and Jodie Minton for their work to bring our new Elected Member Engagement Group (EMEGs) into being. As a result of EMEGs’ first meeting, over 50 submissions were sent to the Northern Territory Government on the draft greenhouse gas emissions offsets policy. We are overjoyed at the success of this new initiative, and to have so many people strongly engaged and speaking up about climate action in the Territory.
It’s absolutely clear from the International Energy Agency that we can have no new gas projects approved in the Northern Territory if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. That means a no to fracking the Beetaloo Basin, a no to Santos’ toxic offshore Barossa project, and a no to the lie that carbon capture and storage is any kind of solution to offsetting the catastrophic emissions that will be generated by these projects.
We are taking strong action for a safe climate and healthy future for future Territorians, by holding the Morrison Government to account in the Federal Court over Minister Keith Pitt’s decision to grant $21million of taxpayer money to Imperial Oil and Gas to speed up fracking in the Beetaloo Basin. We are arguing that the decision was unlawful, including because Minister Pitt did not consider the impacts of climate change when making his decision. We’ll let you know as soon as we obtain judgment in this landmark test case.
Thank you for your continued support – we couldn’t do it without you. You can help us by becoming a Territory Guardian, or making a one-off donation to ECNT: https://www.ecnt.org.au/donate
Climate Conversations update from Jodie
October has been an exciting month, settling into the newly renovated and expanded office space at ECNT with all of the team. Hetty from Alice Springs facilitated her first Climate Conversation and Morgan joined the team as a Facilitator. Hetty received great feedback from Conversation participants, with one saying 'I found it a really useful refresher of the scientific knowledge around climate change and its impacts. It also gave useful insight into the dynamics of social change and the action that individuals can take to influence government. Overall, it was a really informative workshop and I would highly recommend it to others'.
As a new Facilitator Morgan says 'I’m really happy to volunteer for the Environment Centre NT and facilitate Climate Conversations. At it’s heart the model achieves what so many try and fail: Climate Conversations empower everyday Australians to feel comfortable and confident to engage politically to demand climate justice. To do so with the support of both their own networks and the ECNT really inspires and motivates people. The dessert helps too'.
Well done Hetty and welcome Morgan! We're so glad to have you both as part of the team (and what's a revolution without dessert!). Climate Conversations 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 participant, Host a Conversation or train to be a volunteer Facilitator.
Hetty (second from left) facilitating her first Conversation, with Tim (also a Conversation Facilitator) supporting as Host.
Savannah and Freshwater update from Jess
The Territory is being cleared at an alarming rate. Just in the last week, 3 new applications have been submitted, including land clearing at Scott Creek Station, Newcastle Waters Station and Mount Ringwood Station. Furthermore, a massive 4000HA of clearing has been approved at Avago Station.
We are on the precipice of eco-system collapse. Land clearing is a major threat to our vulnerable ecosystems. We will continue to keep you informed and fight off as many as possible. The more of us responding the better.
It is clear to us that being on the back foot and merely responding to threats is not the solution to eco-system collapse, so we need your help to let the Gunner Government know that Territory’s Savanna and biodiversity more broadly must be protected with adequate legislation.
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
Another lovely group of brilliant individuals attended, eager to do all they can to hold the Northern Territory Government accountable. Following on from the Draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions Offsets Policy, we prepared for and organised groups to begin meeting with their Labor MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly). Each group will ask the MLA to uphold Recommendation 9.8 of the Pepper Inquiry – “To ensure that Greenhouse Gas emissions are fully offset and that there is no net increase in the life cycle Greenhouse Gas emissions emitted in Australia from NT shale gas production.” We will confirm the date of the November meeting in the coming weeks. If you would like to join the group, contact Jess at [email protected].
Energy campaign update
We’ve been busy advancing our ‘Stop Barossa Gas’ and ‘Save Darwin Harbour’ campaigns.
The Barossa gas project is constantly evolving, and last week in Darwin Santos made an announcement about their plans for gas field development and CCS in the Timor Sea. This announcement wasn’t made without opposition though; out the front of the Darwin Convention Centre, where oil and gas company executives were gathering, was a large coalition of community members, including Parents for Climate Action Darwin, Protect Country Alliance, and ECNT, expressing our concern about the fracking and offshore gas plans being discussed inside. Watch this space.
You can read our media release about a new report that finds fracking in the Beetaloo is unviable here.
Territory Rivers – Keep ‘Em Flowing update
Our rivers are under threat from large-scale agriculture driven by cotton players rolling out the same playbook as the Murray-Darling. Their plans for rapid expansion would result in huge extra amounts of water taken and land bulldozed. Territorians know how valuable our rivers are and are standing up to secure a healthy future for them and the livelihoods that rely on them.
Last month, Katherine area residents renewed their calls for the Gunner Government to undertake a full environmental assessment of the proposed Tarwoo cotton gin. Over the past month satellite images shockingly revealed proponents started construction and bulldozing before obtaining planning and environmental approvals. Despite this, they have continued with bulldozing and so far nothing has been done to put a stop to this activity.
It’s important the NT Government hears clear calls from Territorians that the gin is properly scrutinised. Join the calls by adding your name today!
Meanwhile, Territorians have been sending messages to Michael Gunner, Eva Lawler, Nicole Manison, calling on them to guarantee the health of our floodplains ahead of the NT Government’s decision on a proposed 'surface water harvesting' policy.
Healthy rivers depend on healthy floodplains. We can't risk allowing big business driven by cotton to suck out hundreds of billions of litres extra water, and put our runoff at risk.
We know how much Territorians value our fishing, our unique lifestyle and environment and this is the time for them to hear that message loud and clear. If you haven't already, send them a message today.
Gamba Grass update
Territorians are gearing up to get rid of gamba this upcoming wet season so we get most ‘bang-for-buck’ and treat areas where landholders can make a real difference. We’re just around the corner from the most effective time to remove gamba grass by hand or spraying before seeding and while it is actively growing.
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, 3 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.
Keep your eye out for the first gamba annual scorecard.
The Northern Territory Government is getting ready to release its first annual report tracking progress as per benchmarks set in the 10 year Gamba Plan.
Territorians want to see this plan to get rid of more gamba in more places starting off on the right foot.
It’s vital that this first snapshot gives the public a clear sense of how things are progressing, the successes to build upon, and the challenges to overcome across our communities. We want to ensure this first snapshot clearly shows how things are tracking on the measures that matter to Territorians who want to reduce fire risk, protect places like Litchfield National Park and turn the tide against gamba.
We will look forward to seeing the first report. Keep an eye out over the coming weeks – we will share it with you! Spread the word with your friends.
Behind the scenes
We’ve made the submissions on the following topics this month:
In the media
October has been an incredibly busy media month for the ECNT. From McArthur River Mine, to water security, to fracking in the Beetaloo, to the net zero emissions targets, we’ve been providing commentary about environmental issues affecting Territorians. The following stories feature the ECNT:
Make sure you are following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to receive updates about our work.
Shar, Kirsty, & the team at the Environment Centre NT