Joseph Elu, chair of the Torres Strait Regional Authority, told Radio National’s PM on January 5 that the islands that have been home to Indigenous people for thousands of years are “being inundated”, right now because of climate change. “A couple of our islands, the tide rises over the sea walls of the beachfront and it flows under the houses and out the other end ... They’re predicting that in 100 years, then they’ll go under.”
The Northern Territory government released the draft report of the independent Review of Indigenous Education in the Northern Territory on February 7. The government’s website says the review aimed to “get an informed understanding of the impact of current programs and initiatives”. If the report’s recommendations are indicative of government intent, education for remote Aboriginal children in the NT looks set to suffer more blows.
The Country Liberal government of the Northern Territory announced on October 26 it was extending a reservation over Darwin’s rural area to “protect rural and rural-residential areas of the Greater Darwin region from oil and gas development”. “Whilst the Country Liberal government is open for business, we know it is not practical to have oil and gas development in the middle of the Greater Darwin Region”, said mines and energy minister Willem Westra van Holthe.
A leaked draft of the second Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, due to be released in March, gives a sobering picture of what lies ahead for Aboriginal communities in Australia as climate change intensifies. Last month, the IPCC said it was 95% certain that human activity was the main cause of climate change. The recent leaked report did not look at the science, but rather the impacts climate change will have, particularly in areas of vulnerability and adaptation.
Groggy Art exhibition by Todd Williams & Therese Ritchie Northern Centre for Contemporary Art Viney Lane, Darwin Until October 12 “My name is Chips Mackinolty and I am an alcoholic … “Everyone assumes that grog is an exclusively Aboriginal problem. That is simply not true. Around 50% of Aboriginal people don’t drink at all. “If the Northern Territory were a nation, we would have the third-highest per capita consumption in the world, and that is not down to Aboriginal Territorians, but to non-Aboriginal people living here.”
About 40 people gathered at Reg Hillier House in Darwin’s rural area on August 15 to discuss threats posed by petroleum companies wanting to explore for oil and gas. Applications for exploration under the Petroleum Act, which could include oil or gas, have reached the outer rural areas including the entire Cox Peninsula, parts of Humpty Doo and Howard Springs, the Dundee area and Litchfield National Park. Exploration may involve using the controversial method of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) if shale gas is found.
Shock facts on Aboriginal people and Australian prisons: * The proportion of Indigenous prisoners has almost doubled in the 20 years since the Royal Commission. * In 2011, Aboriginal people made up 2.5% of the Australian population. They accounted for 46.2% of all youth in juvenile custody and 26.1% of total adult prison population. * In the NT, Aboriginal people made up 30.3% of the total population, 96.9% of the juvenile detention population and 82.3 % of the adult prison population.
This year marks 100 years since the opening of the Kahlin compound in Darwin, a place where Aboriginal children, stolen from their families, were forced to live and work. The compound was closed in 1938, but lives on in the memory of many who were held there — many of whom are still in Darwin today, and would like the site to be recognised and protected as part of their heritage.
Garrumul: His Life & Music Robert Hillman 2013, $65 Dr M Yunupingu, former Yothu Yindi frontman and Gumatj clan member, passed away on June 2 at his home community of Yirrkala, in north-east Arnhem Land. It is often the case that we learn more about somebody’s life after they die. As it happened, the week Yunupingu died, I had bought a copy of a beautiful new biography of his nephew, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, known more commonly as Gurrumul.
Representatives from the Environment Centre NT (ECNT) and the Amateur Fishermen’s Association of the NT (AFANT) travelled to Mataranka on June 13 to host a public meeting about water allocations in the region. The Country Liberal Party government has made changes to the allocation process, which threatens the Roper River region’s environment, as well as pastoral and Indigenous interests.