Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 - North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance, NAILSMA
The emergence of a domestic carbon trading scheme could enable Indigenous groups to participate more fully in reducing Australia’s emissions if Indigenous participation is followed through, according to the North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance.

Joe Morrison, CEO of NAILSMA, said that the scheme could also be much more than about reducing emissions if handled well.

“Australia’s efforts to grapple with climate change and a shift to a low carbon future can be part of building remote economies that are needed to make the Closing the Gap commitments, and indeed more reaching than belated housing, education and policing programs,” he said.

Mr Morrison said scientific research was now confirming what Indigenous people have been saying for a long time: that Indigenous fire practices and knowledge is an essential tool for the future conservation of northern Australia.

“Savanna fires across northern Australia produce around 3 per cent of our national greenhouse gas emissions, but in places like the Northern Territory, they account for approximately 40% of the NT’s total emission profile.” he said.

Additionally Indigenous people across northern Australia have recovered large tracts of land and retain Native Title interests over approximately 80 per cent of the region.

“Combined with western science, our role is critical in realising the potential to reduce emissions and sequester enormous amounts of carbon at a price the nation can afford,” said Mr Morrison.

He pointed to a western Arnhem Land project where the re-establishment of Indigenous fire practices using modern tools and the deployment of an Indigenous ranger workforce had produced a world first offset arrangement that is being replicated in other parts of northern Australia.

“This project has shown that in addition to the demonstrably achievable offsets, it is providing employment that Indigenous people enjoy – managing their natural and cultural resources, on behalf of the nation,” said Mr Morrison.

He acknowledged that there remained major challenges including carbon rights and ownership, unscrupulous "carbon baggers" and the necessary research and development needed to match community expectations.

He also warned that while the national government had taken a number of positive steps in design of the Carbon Farming Initiative much would depend on complementary action in the States and Territories, especially around establishing rights in carbon and crafting mechanisms to recognise and reward the carbon benefits of uninterrupted good stewardship of the nation's savannas.

The North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance facilitates large scale initiatives across Northern Australia's wet/dry tropics and is committed to finding practical solutions to support people to manage their lands into the future. NAILSMA has led research into the first offset methodology released under the Carbon Farming Initiative.

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North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance, NAILSMA


The North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance facilitates large scale initiatives across Northern Australia's wet/dry tropics and is committed to finding practical solutions to support people to manage their lands into the future. NAILSMA has led research into the first offset methodology released under the Carbon Farming Initiative.
Penny Underwood
P: 03 9818 8540
W: www.nailsma.org.au

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North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance, NAILSMA, Joe Morrison, carbon farming initiatives

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