The Net Zero 2060 goal will need to rely on Australia’s Indigenous estate, says new findings

Article by Madeleine Clark for the Kalgoorlie Miner

Fresh findings have shown about 43 per cent of new renewable energy infrastructure would need to be sited on Australia’s Indigenous estate to get to net zero by 2060.

The figures stem from The Net Zero Australia study which used data modelling to predict what Australia’s economic transition to net-zero emissions would entail, including changes in land and sea use for renewable energy projects and the implications for First Nations communities and the so-called Indigenous estate.

The National Native Title Council indicated the group would urge comprehensive policy reform in light of the study with chief executive Jamie Lowe saying the scale of the infrastructure calls for a re-conceptualisation of the role of First Nations groups in development.

He said past mistakes needed to be learnt from in order to support a sustainable and workable net zero future.

“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 Indigenous estate includes predominantly native title determined areas, but also Indigenous-owned freehold and Indigenous managed and co-managed land.

The NNTC gave support to the First Nations Clean Energy Network to work with First Nations community round tables to create a First Nations Clean Energy Strategy.

This is set to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to play a role in the country’s energy transformation.

“Australian law does not provide a level playing field for traditional owners in negotiating agreements,” Mr Lowe said.

“The law needs to be reformed and must include the right to free, prior and informed consent, including the right to veto, or say no to development.”

The study predicted Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland would experience significant growth in employment as hosts of the majority of Australia’s clean energy export sector.

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