The co-Chair of the First Nations Clean Energy Network, Karrina Nolan has received the Australian Geographic Society Award for 'Conservationist of the Year'.
Karrina has been recognised for her work in building the capacity of First Nations communities to self-determine what happens on Country, so that communities have greater energy security, can participate in the renewable energy revolution, and equitably benefit from clean energy projects.
The award is a tribute to not only Karrina’s work but the leadership and commitment of so many in our community.
As Karrina notes, "None of this is an individual effort. It’s a collective project that will take all of us."
Canada is about a decade ahead of us in ensuring First Nations are front and centre of that country's clean energy transition.
“One of the things the Canadians have done well is get government and industry to work together, incentivising businesses that are doing best practice and making sure there are genuine benefits of engagements and consent.”
By working hand-in-hand with both government and industry, the Network aims to develop renewable energy projects on Country.
But there’s more work to be done, both on policy reform and forging partnerships between communities and industry.
Many First Nations communities are situated on the frontlines of fossil fuel projects.
Instead of being reactive to developments or proposals, Karrina says Traditional Owners must be included in project planning.
“We’ve got a long history of extractive mining being done to our people and communities.
"We're really committed to making sure our communities can protect Country, sacred sites, water and land.”