Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Northern Territory Government’s draft Climate Change Response. Our comments on the draft response follow our submission to the Government’s initial Climate Change Response Discussion Paper in November last year.

The Northern Territory is facing some of Australia’s most extreme climate changes. As we heard at the NT Climate Justice Forum (hosted by Jesuit Social Services in partnership with NTCOSS and the Environment Centre NT in September this year), for many remote Aboriginal communities, water scarcity, heat stress, food security, energy poverty, service disruption and the impacts of species loss on people’s cultural and spiritual lives are not distant threats, but real and present challenges demanding an urgent response.

The Northern Territory Government’s draft response is a step in the right direction, but falls short of the comprehensive plan needed to secure a safe climate future for the Territory. Our submission calls on the Northern Territory Government to act swiftly to legislate a clear pathway to net zero emissions by 2050 and prepare our communities for the changes ahead.

Our submission emphasises the need for a response built on the principles of climate justice, recognising that here in the Territory, as is the case globally, the burdens of climate change are not being felt equally. We note in particular the disproportionate effect that both the causes and impacts of climate change are having on Aboriginal land, culture and communities: justice for Aboriginal people and respect for First Nations’ knowledge must be the foundation of our response.

We call for a response that ensures considerations of equity, inclusion and the reduction of existing inequalities guide decision-making: prioritising support for those worst impacted and with the fewest resources to adapt, and ensuring the benefits of transition to a clean energy future flow to the communities who need it most.

Our submission aligns with a joint statement signed by Jesuit Social Services along with 17 other organisations and community groups calling for a just transition to a safe climate future in the Territory.

Read our submission on the draft Climate Change Response here.

A copy of the joint statement can be viewed here.