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Australia’s NAIDOC Week to conclude amid indigenous climate change concerns


Australia’s NAIDOC Week to conclude amid indigenous climate change concerns

Australias NAIDOC week
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Australia’s annual NAIDOC Week, celebrating indigenous Australian peoples and cultures concludes today.

The conclusion comes as indigenous Torres Strait Islanders—spurred by extensive land loss due to sea-level rises around their island homes between the north-eastern tip of Australia and Papua New Guinea—continue a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) against the Australian Federal Government. They argue Canberra has failed to preserve their culture by failing to take meaningful action on climate change—action which incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison has heretofore opposed.

The UNHRC will rule later this year and could compel Australia to act. Australia has thus far responded to Torres Strait Islander concerns by building seawalls in some islands. However, if the UNHRC recommends Australia set higher emissions reductions targets, Canberra will likely prevaricate. Morrison is vehemently opposed to more ambitious reduction targets as it threatens the mining industry which accounts for $202 billion or 10% of economic output.

Therefore, expect Morrison to maintain this opposition. Not least because his “climate-sceptic” coalition partner has vowed to vote against any more ambitious targets. Instead, expect renewed commitments to coastal erosion infrastructure in the affected islands and careful aspirational rhetoric towards net zero emissions by 2050.

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