Thorny News Update


We hope this Thorny News finds you all well. It's change of season time in Central Australia with the lovely cooler nights and much less intense days, which means general activity picks up in Alice, and so it seems here at ALEC!

Our exciting news this week is the launch of RePower Alice Springs, which is a direct response to the NT Government's recent announcement to invest $75 million into upgrading fossil fuel infrastructure at Owen Springs Power Station. See below for more information, but there has never been a better time to demand a renewable energy future for our town.

Also, there's going to be a really interesting Nature Laws Workshop coming up which we are co-hosting with Places You Love. Make sure you RSVP, and contribute to the important conversation about the environmental laws that should be protecting our precious environment.

Keep well,

ALEC Communications and Campaigns Manager

RePower Alice Springs

The Alice Springs Climate Working Group has been working hard in developing the campaign to address the recent NT Government's announcement to invest $75 million into upgrading fossil fuel infrastructure here in Alice Springs.

The campaign is called RePower Alice Springs, and we will be launching it online next week via media release to local, state and national media organisations, politicians and relevant organisations.

RepPower Alice Springs is calling on the NT Government to:

  1. Immediately modify the Clarke Energy contract to reduce the number of new gas turbines installed at Owen Springs, and redirect the available funding to upscaling local solar power generation.

  2. Commit to a ten year plan to transition Alice Springs to 100% renewable energy

  3. Create a Territory-wide Renewable Energy and Climate Change policy informed by climate science and community engagement with a focus on attracting investment for low-carbon energy infrastructure.

We are asking community members to get behind Repower Alice Springs as we work to transition Alice Springs to 100% solar power by 2030. Like the facebook page  

Territory Generation will be making a deputation to the Alice Springs Town Council meeting about the $75 million gas investment on Monday11th April at 5.30pm.  Please come and have a presence at the meeting.

This is the start of a large public campaign that we will need your support with.

Please email if you have any time you can contribute.

Nature Laws Workshop - April 12th

When: Tuesday 12th April, 5.30-8.00pm [Free dinner included]
Where: Andy McNeil Room, Alice Springs Town Council
On Tuesday 12th April the Places You Love alliance – a nationwide movement redefining how we protect community livelihoods, nature and wildlife – is hosting a public forum in Alice Springs to discuss the need for a stronger set of environmental laws.
Co-hosted with the Arid Lands Environment Centre, this is one of many workshops taking place across the country designed to inspire and facilitate a collective conversation about the solutions we need for strong and effective nature protection - as well as talk about what we all need to do to make sure Australia adopts this new plan.
The Places You Love Alliance formed as a response to the 2013 Federal government proposal for a ‘one-stop-shop’ for environmental approvals – an attempt to gut the federal environment law by handing decisions on matters of national significance to state and territory governments. After seeing the nature protection laws that hold together our vital life support systems undermined and denigrated as “green tape”, it became clear that this national, united voice was greatly needed in Australia.
The Places You Love alliance continues to grow and now represents 43 environmental organisations and over 1.5 million people. The Arid Lands Environment Centre is one of those members, and along with Places You Love invites you to become part of this national nature laws conversation.
Succesive State of the Environment reports show the fundamental indicators of environmental health in Australia are in decline.  At the same time industry lobby groups have aggressively pushed governments to weaken existing environmental protection.
“The laws that protect nature are the foundations of a thriving Australia, but it’s clear they are not strong enough to keep the places we love safe and healthy,” said Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy and member of the Places You Love management committee.
Places You Love and the Arid Lands Environment Centre are reaching out to invite those who care about their local environment to share their stories and support a new vision and a real plan for nature protection.
Please RSVP to this event here at to assist planning for catering. Keep updated by the Facebook event here
Help us in co-creating the solutions needed to strong nature protection across Australia.

Arid Edge Environmental Services

Positions Vacant

Green Army Team Members
Alice Springs Based
6 months, 30 hours/wk

Are you looking for practical skills and experience in land management and horticulture?
Are you passionate about the environment and like hands on work?
Arid Edge Environmental Services is seeking motivated individuals to join our Green Army team undertaking weed management and bush regeneration activities in the Todd River, Alice Springs.

Applications close Wednesday 13th April, 9am.
Direct queries to

Alice Springs Community Garden

A big thank you to all those who made the Earth Hour Picnic a success! It was great to gather in the community garden, mark the occasion and also celebrate Neighbour Day.


ASCG Working Bees are every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month 8am -11am. Frances Smith Memorial Park, Bourke St. All welcome!

Food For Alice

How should we celebrate our growing success?

Today Food for Alice received 1000 likes on Facebook. Slowly the supplier and customer base for the farmers market is growing. There are some Saturdays when it feels like I don't have a chance to stop at all which is just fantastic.  Our suppliers are ranging from enthusiastic gardeners who just love working in their garden, to growers who are enjoying the fact that there is the opportunity to focus on something they love doing as a business, to schools who are gardening and cooking with local food as part of their curriculum and selling excess produce to the stall.  Our customers are enjoying the supply of fresh local food that has the benefit of low carbon miles, lasts in the fridge because it is so fresh instead of being sprayed with preservatives, and it tastes amazing!

On top of all of that we are now at a stage where we are so close to breaking even and the stall paying for all of the costs associated with running it.  We just need a little bit more business to cover costs as so far ALEC has been supporting us with public liability insurance and our food licence.  With winter on it's way and gardens starting to be planted, I know that more produce will be on its way in the coming weeks. 

At the same time I would like to say a big thank you to all our supporters so far. I think it is time to celebrate and we would like a little help with it.  We need an idea on what we could do!  Something out there, something a little different.  Something we can incorporate into a Saturday morning for a bit of fun and happiness and enjoyment.  

So thinking caps on people and send in ideas to Carmel at

Food security in Central Australia: How can we achieve this?

Have your say on what's happening in the news, current affairs and policy debates around the country. Each fortnight, ABC Open and The Drum will nominate a subject for discussion, asking everyday Australians to share their personal story. If you've lived it, we want to hear your story and your considered thoughts on the issue of the day. Our next call out is: 

Debate about mining or foreign ownership of agricultural land and genetically modified crops has put food security in the news. 
Many people take grassroots steps to ensure a food supply that fits their beliefs, using organic, co-op or community production and distribution at local farmers’ markets. How do you make food purchasing or production decisions? What do you think we as a nation or individually should do to protect future food supplies? What works, what doesn’t? Do we need to legislate or subsidise for food security?

Write in to

All contributions that meet the Dos and Don'ts will be published here on ABC Open. We may edit your contribution to make it suitable for publishing across different mediums and to give it context. The most compelling will be featured on The Drum, the ABC's popular platform for debate and discussion featuring some of Australia's best journalists, thinkers and opinion-makers. Contributors may also be invited to record their piece or become a live guest for ABC Radio.

The deadline for consideration for selection for The Drum is midday Monday 11th April 2016Project ends on Dec 30 2016

Central Australian Frack Free Alliance

CAFFA Stands Strong Against Fracking!  
On Tuesday 15th March CAFFA members gathered at the start of the Annual Geoscience & Exploration Seminar at the conference to send strong message to the NT Government & the gas companies that we won’t stand for fracking at in Central Australia! 
Thanks to the 50 people who came down!!

Can You Join us in Katherine on 15 & 16 April? 
On Friday 15 and Saturday 16 April 2016, landholders and communities from across the Territory will gather in Katherine to develop joint strategies and take action to protect the places we love from risky shale gas fracking.

Right now, more than 90% of the Northern Territory is under application for fracking, despite the known risks to the health of our water, people and the climate. The campaign to ban fracking is gaining momentum, and this election year your voice is more important than ever.

Delegations of landholders and communities targeted for shale gas drilling are preparing to converge in Katherine for a conference, gala fundraiser dinner and huge horse and rider march to send a clear message to the NT Government ahead of the Territory elections – risky gas fracking is not welcome in our precious Territory. 

Territorians will be joined by prominent international advocate for water protection John Fenton, a Wyoming rancher whose community now relies on water to be trucked in following frackingcontamination of local drinking supplies. Queenslander Helen Bender will also join the events, speaking out after she tragically lost her father, Chinchilla farmer George Bender, after a long-running battle with unconventional gas encroachment on the family farm.

The cost of the conference is nominal to encourage broad participation across the community. A bus will take delegates from Alice Springs & Tennant Creek to Katherine the day before the conference for a small donation. 

For more information on the conference email
You can register for the conference at and check out the  face book event page to keep updated about the event & help us promote it through social media.
NT Gas Companies Caught Out Lying 

In huge news, earlier this week in the US a court found a US drilling company guilty of water contamination – putting an end to any claims made by the industry that fracking is safe. Just the day before, NT Chairman of Imperial Oil and Gas, Bruce McLeod, told NT ABC Country Hour that the court outcome would prove that there is no risk from fracking, and that the water contamination reports that led to the New York State decision to ban fracking were "rubbish". The jury found that gas drilling company Cabot was negligent and that they caused water contamination. The two families were awarded $4.25 million in compensation. 
Get Involved – Come to our Next Meeting!!
Our next campaign meeting for the year will be held Monday 4th April at 5:30pm at the ALEC Office – 90 Gap Rd (cnr of Kraegen St & Gap Rd – Opposite Pigglys Grocery).

Community Notices

Copyright © 2016 Arid Lands Environment Centre
All rights reserved.

You are receiving this email as you are an ALEC supporter.
Our new premises is 90 Gap Road, Alice Springs
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 2796 Alice Springs 0871 NT
Phone: 08 89522497