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Traditional owners ask climate strikers to think of them as the Territory heats up

Posted: Thu, September 19, 2019

The Central Land Council has called climate strikers to think of remote community residents who are most at risk from the climate emergency.

“CLC members and workers will join striking students and their supporters from across the Northern Territory and I support their right to take this action,” CLC chair Sammy Wilson said.

“I call on them to spare a thought for Aboriginal people out bush who may not be able to travel to the strikes but who are already suffering most during our hotter, longer and drier summers,” Mr Wilson said.

“I am dreading another summer like the last one because it is especially tough on our old and sick people who live in overcrowded, poor quality houses.”

With many remote communities under severe water stress, water shortages and quality topped the list of policy priorities endorsed by the CLC’s elected delegates at their most recent council meeting in August.

The delegates want to live sustainably on their country and see water rights and liveable houses as central to their future and are prepared to fight for a safe environment.

“The government gave us the land back but not the water. Water is the new land rights,” Mr Wilson said.

Following the NT’s hottest summer on record, and the driest in almost three decades, the delegates also nominated climate change and water security as high policy priorities. 

“Last summer many people were struggling to sleep. We heard about people taking turns in the coolest parts of the house,” Mr Wilson said.

“Most of our people live in concrete boxes and can’t afford to run air conditioners around the clock. Many don’t have working fridges to keep food safe for eating, so they are very likely to get sick.”

Mr Wilson said we must listen to scientists who are predicting that the poorest people in the hottest countries will be hardest hit by climate change.

“Aboriginal people want to be part of the solution. We want to have access to clean technologies such as solar power so that our children have the chance to keep living on our traditional country.”

19 September 2019

MEDIA CONTACT: Marie Rançon | 0467 879 254 or 08 8951 6215| media@clc.org.au