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ABC: Clean energy transition strategy could keep the lights on in Australia's Indigenous communities

The reality of remote living, with a lack of reliable power and water supply, sits in stark contrast to the billions of dollars being poured into mining projects across Australia each year. 

Remote communities can be cut off for weeks when the rivers start running in Western Australia, with residents forced to rely on diesel generators for electricity.  

Western Desert community leader Bruce Booth said it was a risky time for residents. 

"We find it really hard to keep the community lights, fridges on," he said.

He said extended blackouts could result in thousands of dollars worth of medicine and groceries being thrown out.

"It's a waste of money for the community," he said. 

"We don't want to chuck money out when the power goes out when a blackout hits the town or community.

"We don't want to be in that risk." 

Luritja man Chris Croker, who is a member of the First Nations Clean Energy Network, said the divide between Indigenous communities and industry was "really strange". 

"You can actually have a 100 megawatt or $200 million investment going on down the road, supplying all this power ... but then just literally down the road or sometimes across the fence, we actually have remote houses who are still getting disconnected," he said.

"Either because they can't afford the electricity ... or the systems are so unreliable that it actually just breaks down.

"We're talking about mega-scale projects, exporting green hydrogen to the world, but then actually we still have all these issues in our backyard." 

He hoped First Nations people would not be left behind as investment into renewable energy projects ramped up. 

Last year the Commonwealth invested $5.5 million to develop a First Nations Clean Energy Strategy aimed at discussing ways for traditional owners, government and business to work together in Australia's transition to renewable energy...