Issue 25, April - June 2003

Environmental alliance for the north

AUSTRALIA’S Environmental organisations have joined forces to create the Northern Australian Environmental Alliance—NAEA—as a way to better coordinate their efforts across northern Australia. One of the objectives of the group is to develop alternative economic models that would underpin genuinely sustainable development for Northern Australia. These models will be based upon the need to protect ecological and cultural values of the region while developing a diverse, prosperous, sustainable and equitable future for the peoples that live there, says the Alliance.

James McLellan, coordinator of the North Queensland Conservation Council, said the alliance is taking a coordinated approach to conservation issues across the north, rather than duplicating the efforts of single organisations.

“The group allows us to advocate in a holistic way,” he said. “Currently we are working together on the National Oceans Office’s Northern Regional Marine Planning process and recently we successfully collaborated against applications for the release of GMO cotton in northern Australia.”

“We’re also working on developing a threats analysis of northern Australia for both marine and terrestrial environments. NAEA will also be engaging on Natural Resource Management Planning processes in northern Australia, including the tropical savannas region. We’re really aware that we need new NRM models that are appropriate for northern Australian conditions, instead of applying southern Australian benchmarks for NRM planning.”

The group’s vision sees the north as one that has been largely spared the worst impacts of land clearing and over-development, with diverse land and sea environs interconnected and largely intact.

However, the alliance states that the northern region is facing increasing development pressures and urgent conservation challenges.

The members of the alliance are:

  • ACF Australian Conservation Foundation
  • AMCS Australian Marine Conservation Society
  • CAFNEC Cairns and Far North Environment Centre
  • CCWA Conservation Council of WA
  • EK Environs Kimberley
  • ECNT Environment Centre of the NT
  • MCCN Marine and Coastal Community Network
  • NQCC North Queensland Conservation Council
  • QCC Queensland Conservation Council
  • TWS The Wilderness Society
  • WWF World Wide Fund for Nature

The group is currently run by a committee comprising members of the various organisations, but it hopes to employ a coordinator in the near future.

For more information contact your local conservation group