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Date posted: 19 February 2014
Electricity generation and consumption continues to be a problem for people across the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands.
Indigenous residents in Far North public housing are not charged for their electricity use, however millions of litres of diesel are being used for electricity generation at a large cost to the State Government, while demand for power in the region continues to rise.
In a bid to better manage and understand electricity use in the region, the Government commissioned Bushlight, a component of the Centre for Appropriate Technology, to study the way the communities use energy. The report, released publicly late last month, warns increasing costs of supplying and maintaining electricity in the remote region poses a serious challenge for funding and supply sustainability.
Uniting Communities manager of Indigenous policy and advocacy Jonathan Nicholls says current arrangements don’t provide incentive for local people to use less power.
There are serious concerns however, that charging Indigenous communities for electricity would do more harm than good. Aboriginal-owned and controlled health organisation Nganampa Health Council is concerned charging for electricity could impact the health of the APY lands population. 'It will reduce our population's ability to undertake many healthy lifestyle practices such as washing clothes, keeping cool in summer, keeping warm in winter, cooking and storing food,' says health services manager David Busuttil.