Call for Top End climate change action

Business, indigenous, health and community groups want NT MPs to commit to climate change action.
Business, indigenous, health and community groups want NT MPs to commit to climate change action.

Northern Territory business, indigenous, health and community groups have called on the Top End's political parties to commit to climate change action ahead of the NT election.

The plea comes more than a week before the August 22 poll, with coronavirus border controls and the economy the key issues on voters' minds.

More than 50 groups delivered an open letter to NT party leaders on Thursday calling for a Territory Climate Change Act.

They want legislation to ensure the NT meets the Paris Agreement target of net zero emissions by 2050.

"The territory finally has bipartisan support for reaching net-zero emissions," Environment Centre NT director Shar Molloy said in a statement.

"But unless that becomes law, we can't be confident that the target will be reached."

Ms Molloy said the Top End faces some of the most extreme impacts from climate change but lags behind other states and territories.

"A Climate Change Act will make sure future governments are held accountable for protecting our futures," she said.

The open letter also calls for the territory's climate change response to consider Aboriginal knowledge.

Indigenous representation on an independent and expert NT Climate Advisory Council to oversee an act has also been urged.

"Our people are on the frontline of climate change," Central Land Council executive Michael Liddle said.

"Our overcrowded hotbox houses are becoming less habitable every year and a falling water table and reduced rainfall are threatening our drinking water."

Mr Liddle said Indigenous communities had cared for the country for tens of thousands of years.

"We want and need to be part of the solution," he said.

Recent polling suggests the NT Labor government, led by Chief Minister Michael Gunner, will be returned to power at the election.

Australian Associated Press