Indigenous leaders from around the globe gather for energy congress in Melbourne

Aboriginal Elders and Leaders from across Australia are turning to new technologies that they believe could hold the key to solving long-term energy challenges in their community.

A growing number of remote and regional Aboriginal communities are actively exploring the option of community energy which describes a renewable energy project that is designed, built, owned or operated by a local group of people.

They believe renewable energy and new technologies, such as storage and smart software, can protect their lands, allow them to live on country, break the reliance on expensive and dirty fuel sources, deliver self sufficiency and sustainable community outcomes.

More than 20 Aboriginal Leaders and community members are preparing to travel from their remote and regional communities in Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Western Australia and Victoria to attend the National Community Energy Congress in Melbourne on February 27 and 28.

While there they plan to meet with like-minded Aboriginal Leaders, energy and legal experts as well as First Nations Leaders from overseas who have already achieved success with community energy models.

Kado Muir, of Ngalia Nation, is Director of the Katampul Aboriginal Corporation in Leonara, north of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

He said electricity is one of the largest expenses for members of his community, and relying on expensive and dirty fuel trapped many into a cycle of welfare.

“When power runs out between pay days they just can’t keep their household going. Fridges and freezers stop working, air conditioners stop and people even sleep with no lights. Some people go out bush to collect firewood to cook food. Sadly, a lot of the residents affected are pensioners who don’t have cars to go collect firewood.”

He said it was exciting to be able to connect homes to renewable energy and storage under the federal government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

“This means we can bring stability to the power needs of my community, reduce the total costs of power and contribute to reducing carbon emissions. The whole community is looking forward to our transition into a renewable energy based Aboriginal community.”

Aboriginal communities to be represented at the Community Energy Congress include:

  • Yidinji, Narjon & Mbarbarum Nation, Atherton Tablelands, QLD
  • Nyemba Nation, Brewarrina, NSW
  • Murriwarri Nation, Weilmoringle, NSW
  • Euahlyia Nation, Goodooga, NSW
  • Wongatha Nation, Kalgoorlie, WA
  • Ngalia Nation, Leonora, WA
  • Dadaway Nation, the Kimberley region, WA

The Community Energy Congress is at Melbourne Town Hall from February 27-28. Among the keynote speakers are Canada’s Chief Gordon Planes, Chief of T’Sou-ke Nation, and Melina Laboucan-Massimo of the Lubicon Lake Cree Nation, who have achieved incredible results with renewable energy in their communities across Canada.

Media inquiries: Dinah Arndt on 0425 791 394 or dinah@climatemediacentre.org.au

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