A national alliance of traditional owner groups is concerned about the impact of the green economy on Aboriginal-controlled land.
The National Native Title Council responded on Wednesday to a study estimating that, in order for Australia to reach net-zero emissions by 2060, 43 per cent – or 50,000sq km of new renewable energy and transmission infrastructure – would need to be established on lands owned or managed by Indigenous Australians. Those lands are sometimes referred to as the Indigenous estate and include pastoral stations across the north of Australia in Aboriginal hands.
“The scale of clean energy infrastructure on Indigenous estate predicted by the Net Zero Australia study calls for a re-conceptualisation of the role of First Nations in development,” NNTC chief executive Jamie Lowe said.
The expert group, Net Zero Australia, released modelling showing the country needs to triple the capacity of the National Electricity Market by the end of the decade to be on track to reach the target of net zero by 2050.
“The mistakes of the resource extraction industry need to be learned from so that First Nations communities share in the benefits of the clean energy transition, including through energy security, community training and job creation, improvement of local services, revenue streams, co-ownership and much more,” Mr Lowe said.
The National Native Title Council supports the First Nations Clean Energy Strategy, which aims to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a stake – and jobs – in the country’s energy transformation.