First Nations Clean Energy Strategy

Policies, Publications & Submissions - February 9, 2024

The ACTU supports the Government’s work to develop a First Nations Clean Energy strategy to build authentic partnerships with First Nations People for an equitable and just clean energy transformation. The impacts of the existential threat of climate change are being felt deeply, especially in remote and regional areas of our country. Australia’s legislated commitment to achieve net zero by 2050 to keep global warming well below 2 C and as close as possible to 1.5 C is grounded in its natural advantage of generating low-cost renewable energy for decarbonizing its economy. The Clean Energy Transition is the pathway to fulfill that commitment. ACTU endorses and supports the government’s commitment to ensure the benefits of Australia’s energy transition are distributed amongst all Australians in terms of access, equity, and participation.  

For many First Nations communities in Australia, access to reliable and affordable energy is not a reality. The existential threat of climate change adds to this energy inequity, requiring a timely and strategic response. For the clean energy transformation to be a just one, First Nations communities must be full participants in the transition, with ready access to jobs and investment, and possessing the ability to secure equitable arrangements for large-scale renewable projects on their lands.  

The First Nation Clean Energy Strategy presents an opportunity to ensure energy justice while building organic partnerships with First Nations communities toward a net zero economy. The strategy is also well-positioned to unlock opportunities for expanding clean energy projects on First Nation lands and waters owned and led by Traditional owners/custodians. A successfully designed strategy should also create pathways through which deep and rich local and cultural knowledge of First Nations people inform and innovate how Australia transforms its energy systems toward the net zero goal. The strategy can also advance the priority reforms for the National Agreement on Closing the Gap while bolstering Australia’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). 

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