Greens call for rail corridor protection now

Rail ClosureGreens Councillors on Newcastle City Council will put a motion at tonight’s Council meeting to preserve the zoning of the rail corridor for public transport use.

“It is time now for Newcastle to reclaim its rail corridor for essential public transport” says Newcastle Greens Councillor Therese Doyle.

“UrbanGrowth’s application to rezone the land along the former Newcastle rail line for development spells the death knell for efficient, uncongested transport into the city centre” she said.

“UrbanGrowth’s proposed model for development of the rail corridor will alienate the land for use for public transport forever.

“The Baird Government has tied up Newcastle’s long-suffering commuters, public and businesses with flawed consultations conducted by two different agencies, UrbanGrowth and Transport for NSW. These are two agencies that don’t talk to each other, don’t base their recommendations on evidence-based traffic or transport research and don’t seek answers about the public’s transport needs or preferences” Councillor Doyle said.

“While Newcastle Council faces the imminent threat of dismissal by the Baird State Government time is running out for us to protect this invaluable piece of public land”, Councillor Doyle said.

“Mr Baird recently gave an undertaking that the ultimate decision on any rezoning of the rail corridor would be taken by Newcastle Council”, Councillor Osborne pointed out. “It would be the height of political cynicism if that decision was placed in the hands of an unelected administrator”, Cr Doyle stressed.

“The only existing NSW State Government proposals that are backed up by evidence-based transport studies recommend putting the new light rail entirely on the existing rail corridor”, said Councillor Doyle. “Those proposals can be found in the suppressed Cabinet Minute Copy 71 uncovered by Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp”, pointed out Cr Doyle.

“Newcastle Greens Councillors believe that the Newcastle public, its commuters and its business owners would be much better served if the rail corridor is kept for its original purpose of public transport with allowances for development that does not impede or threaten that use”, Cr Doyle declared.

Further information contact: Therese Doyle 0434 257 892

Posted in Media Releases, Rail Line, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

End Domestic Violence Against Women

John Mackenzie DV

Posted in 2016 Federal, Domestic Violence | Leave a comment

Voters in the Hunter will determine the final Senate seat, say Greens

The final Senate seat in NSW is set to be a close contest and fewer than 15,000 voters could decide the outcome, says Greens Senate candidate Michael Osborne.

Bob Brown Wants a Senator from the Hunter

“Election pollsters are suggesting that the final Senate seat in NSW looks more and more likely to be a contest between myself and the Liberal Democrats David Leyonhjelm,” says Greens Senate candidate Michael Osborne.

“If that is the case, there is a stark contrast between the two contenders for the last seat,” says Greens Senate candidate Michael Osborne.

“While Leyonhjelm has in the last term voted with the Coalition 70% of the time, is fiercely anti-renewables and has railed against the successful plain packaging laws, the Greens offer a genuine alternative to the Coalition,” says Greens Senate candidate Michael Osborne.

“The Greens have comprehensive, well-formed policies that offer a brighter future for communities, whether it is in our Renew Australia clean energy jobs policy that is good for workers and the environment or our robust education and health policies that invest in people. We are standing up for the issues that matter,” says Greens Senate candidate Michael Osborne.

“In the coming days, voters in the Hunter could determine the mix in the Senate. If 3% of voters across the Hunter shift to a Greens vote on the white upper house ballot paper, they could deliver a local Senator,” says Greens Senate candidate Michael Osborne.

“The Senate is important, not just as a ‘House of Review’ but also, as former Senator Don Chipp once said, ‘to keep the bastards honest’,” says Greens Senate candidate Michael Osborne.

Contact: Michael Osborne 0439 442 984

Short biography of Michael Osborne

Michael Osborne is the longest serving Greens Councillor elected to Newcastle City Council (first elected 2004), is the chair of Newcastle’s Strategic Environment Advisory Committee and initiated the development of Council’s Cycling Strategy and Action Plan.

He is a strong community advocate and campaigner. He is active in the community, speaking at community actions, forums and rallies. He co-founded and developed the Green Corridor Coalition, an alliance of more than 50 community and environment groups committed to the protection of biodiversity corridors in the Hunter.

Michael serves on the Board of The Wilderness Society Newcastle and The Wilderness Society Australia. He is an environmental engineer with management qualifications, a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Conjoint Fellow at the University of Newcastle.

He is the Greens Senate candidate for the 2016 Federal election, second in the ticket after Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Voter numbers (

HUNTER 113,465

LYNE 111,907


PATERSON 112,541


TOTAL 561,429

15,000 voters = 2.7% of total

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Newcastle To Get Lion’s Share of Transition Funding under Greens Plan

Newcastle and the Hunter Valley will be eligible for a major share of $250 million in upfront investment to support and assist coal workers and coal communities to manage the transition to a low carbon future under a plan announced by the Greens today.

According to Newcastle Greens candidate John Mackenzie, the Greens’ Renew Australia policy to provide 90% of our nation’s energy needs from clean, renewable sources by 2030 includes establishing a Clean Energy Transition Fund to limit the risk and exposure of workers and communities dependent on carbon-intensive industries like coal mining.

The fund will start with an initial amount of $250 million and is expected to fund projects worth around $1 billion over the next 15 years.

“Newcastle and the Hunter have unmatched skills, knowledge and expertise in energy and manufacturing industries, with potential to play a central role in the emerging renewable energy economy,” said Dr Mackenzie. “The purpose of the Clean Energy Transition Fund is to re-tool these unique attributes so we are globally competitive in the industries of the future.”

“Right now, the energy economy is in a period of profound structural shift, and this is having a disproportionate impact on workers and households in Newcastle and the Hunter region. The Greens believe it is the government’s responsibility to ensure these workers and their families are looked after so that no coal worker has to suffer the anxiety and financial insecurity that comes from abruptly losing their job.”

“For Newcastle and the Hunter, this funding means training and reskilling opportunities for coal workers, incentives for new businesses, start-ups and innovation hubs, and assistance to enable our community to take advantage of the renewable industry boom,” said Dr Mackenzie.

“With the seed funding provided by the Fund, proposals for full scale renewable energy projects located near coal-dependent communities in need of new employment opportunities will have a much needed competitive advantage,” said Dr Mackenzie.

“The Clean Energy Transition Fund includes funding full income maintenance for workers in the fossil fuel industry as their workplaces scale down and close. At the same time, The Greens are pushing for legislation to provide job guarantees for all displaced workers from fossil fuel power stations with equivalent pay, security and benefits,” said Dr Mackenzie.

The Clean Energy Transition Fund would be administered by a new $500 million government authority – RenewAustralia – which would have independent agency and the authority to drive the transition to a new clean energy system nationally, including the assistance provided to workers and regions affected by the phase out of fossil fuel indiustries.

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Volunteer Spotlight – Banjo

One of our volunteers talks about volunteering in the 2016 Federal campaign.

Volunteer Spotlight - Banjo

If you want to get involved in phone banking, or any other volunteering activities to drive positive change in 2016 click here sign up!

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Dr John Kaye MLC

Statement by Therese Doyle, Greens Councillor Newcastle City Council on the death of Dr John Kaye MLC.

Dr John Kaye was an outstanding parliamentary representative of the Greens who worked tirelessly for everything the Greens represent. He was such an articulate champion of public education, renewable energy, public health, and many other pressing causes, that it will very hard for the Greens to replace him.

Nevertheless, he has left us in the Greens, and in the broad progressive movement, a huge legacy.

One of John’s proudest achievements came here in the Hunter where he campaigned with local activists for four long years to save the Williams River and its priceless environment from the ill-conceived Tillegra Dam project. 

We will do our best to honour John’s memory. He made an unparalleled contribution to the political debate in NSW and beyond. He won the respect of his peers, in parliament and among those alongside whom he fought for progressive causes, through his relentless appeal to reason, to evidence and to social justice.

The Greens will honour his memory with renewed determination to struggle for all those issues he held dear. We will continue the fight to protect the planet from warming, for renewable energy, for proper funding for TAFE and all public education, for public hospital funding and most importantly, for effective democracy free from insidious influence-peddling by wealthy vested interests.

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Media Release: PM must restore cut CSIRO jobs in Newcastle.

Australian Greens Science spokesperson Adam Bandt MP and Greens NSW Senate candidate and Newcastle Councillor Michael Osborne have called on the Prime Minister to restore the jobs that were cut from CSIRO in Newcastle following Tony Abbott’s slashing of $111 million out of the CSIRO in the 2014 Budget.

The 2014 Budget cuts led to almost 20 per cent of jobs being lost at the CSIRO, including some at the Newcastle centre.

Mr Bandt is set to join Cr Osborne in Newcastle this Friday for a forum at Newcastle City Hall on innovation.

“The CSIRO in Newcastle has a world-class solar thermal research facility and this important research can make the Hunter a hub for clean energy,” Greens Senate candidate Cr Michael Osborne said.

“Unfortunately under this Liberal government we have seen scientists and staff at this facility lose their jobs.”

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal government must support the CSIRO and renewable energy research done here in Newcastle if we are to create jobs-rich future for the Hunter region by restoring these jobs and the cut funding,” Greens NSW Senate candidate Cr Michael Osborne said.

“Malcolm Turnbull talks big on innovation, yet investment in science, research and innovation remains at a 30-year low. It’s time for his actions to match his words.”

Greens Science spokesperson Adam Bandt MP said: “I’m proud to be joining Michael Osborne in Newcastle to discuss with the community, the future of the Hunter region and how we can truly become an innovation country.”

“Australia’s economy is transitioning, yet the Liberals don’t have a plan for when the mining boom is over. Right now, we’re at risk of ending up as a hollowed-out, uneducated quarry without sustainable jobs.”

“Our Federal Parliament needs more people like Michael Osborne standing up for people and fighting for investment in sustainable jobs.”

Media contacts:

Cr Michael Osborne – 0439 442 984

Adam Bandt MP – Adam Pulford, 0429 109 054

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Greens to unveil innovation platform at Newcastle Town Hall forum

Greens MPs Adam Bandt and Senator Lee Rhiannon will join Newcastle Federal Candidate John Mackenzie in Newcastle on Friday 18th March to launch the Greens ‘Bright Ideas for Newcastle’ platform. At the first of a series of public forums in the lead-up to the Federal Election, the three speakers will show how the Greens’ progressive approach to innovation – in Senate reform, in industry and in regional sustainability – presents a positive vision for the future of Newcastle.

Greens Senator for New South Wales Lee Rhiannon said that democratic innovations to ensure government policies better reflect the public good were a key part of the package. “For innovation to flourish and deliver on 21st century challenges we need to unlock the expertise and advice of ordinary people. Technology provides massive opportunities to achieve this. The Greens plan to open up our democracy for greater public involvement in decision making.”

Candidate for the seat of Newcastle John Mackenzie said, “We are all being bombarded with Turnbull’s advertising campaign for a so-called Ideas Boom, which is big on rhetoric but noticeably lacking any actual ideas.”

“Real innovation drives technology and change that improves quality of life and benefits everyone. The Greens have a model of innovation that is about creative solutions to equip families, households and neighbourhoods to deal with the real problems of global climatic and financial uncertainty,” said John Mackenzie. “This means innovation that nurtures new industries and business models for a low carbon future, that transforms our voting system to put power back into the hands of voters, and that ensures healthy landscapes and livelihoods for regional communities.”

“The progressive approach to innovation in the Greens election platform will resonate with Newcastle audiences as our community adjusts to the realities of the new post-carbon economy,” said John Mackenzie.

“Being so aware of the sad situation in Hunter coal-dependent towns, I know how much Newcastle needs fresh thinking about a future that has its people’s lives, livelihoods and health at the forefront”, said “Rich Land, Wasteland” author, Sharyn Munro, who will facilitate the forum.




Event: Innovating Our Future – Newcastle Greens Public Forum

When: Friday 18th March 7:30pm

Where: Hunter Room, Newcastle Town Hall

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Newcastle Uni students to suffer if Turnbull govt cuts funding, introduces $100,000 degrees

11 March 2016

Commenting on the news this morning that the federal government’s higher education election platform could retain the 20 percent funding cut proposed under the Abbott government, Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said:


“A 20 percent public funding cut to universities will mean $100,000 degrees and will be disastrous for students in the Hunter, many of whom are already shackled with enormous debts.


“Shifting costs onto students will not work. Last year thousands of NSW staff, students, their families and unions made that clear during a fierce campaign against Pyne’s deregulation agenda.


“Without adequate public funding Newcastle University will suffer.


Newcastle Greens councillor and Greens Senate candidate Michael Osborne said:

“The students of Newcastle University put up a fierce fight against the Coalition’s deregulation agenda, which would have seen fees sky-rocket.

“This will make a lot of young people in the Hunter very nervous. Students don’t want to read about the possibility of their fees increasing.

“The Greens want to see the Coalition rule out any increase in student fees, and any cuts to public university funding.

Media contact:
Lee Rhiannon – 0411 669 022

Michael Osborne – 0439 442 984

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Public Forum: Innovating Our Future



Newcastle Greens Candidate Dr John Mackenzie-

‘Planning for resilience to create strong regions’

NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon- ‘Democratic Innovations’

Portfolios: Democracy, International Aid and Development, Local Government

MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt- ‘Future Industry’

Portfolios: Arts, Employment and Workplace Relations, Industry, Energy and Science, Treasury

Facilitated by Sharyn Munto, literary activist and public speaker.

Friday 18th March 7.30pm

Hunter Room, Newcastle Town Hall.

Gold coin donation at door

RSVP #0408497778

Strictly limited seating


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Greens Join Call to Clean Up the Hunter


Greens candidate for the Paterson John Brown will be joined by Greens Senate candidate Cr Michael Osborne on Clean Up Australia day to put pressure on the Liberal State and Federal governments to address pollution in the Hunter region. 

“For too long successive Liberal and Labor Governments have turned their back on pollution management in Australia, and we are losing the battle,” said John Brown.

“The Greens have long had a position supporting a ban on single use plastic bags, and want to see a strategic approach to managing local waste generation,” said John Brown.

“From Greta to Fullerton Cove, plastics waste is a major problem, including tens of millions of plastic bags entering the environment every year causing pollution of waterways and oceans,” said John Brown.

“We know NSW remains well above the national average in litter so a plastic bag ban makes sense,” said John Brown.

“We need a national container deposit scheme, but the Federal Liberal government is sitting on its hands,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

“New South Wales can have a real, ‘South Australia’ style container deposit scheme that will reduce pollution and litter while  increasing recycling if only the Baird Liberal government decided to act and didn’t cave in to the beverage industry,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

“It is vitally important that New South Wales makes the right choice – what happens here could ultimately influence what happens all across the country. There is decades of evidence that a refund container deposit scheme is the way to go,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

“The Greens are strong supporters of evidence-based policy and banning the plastic bag and introducing a container deposit scheme will work to reduce waste in our environment,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

When: Sunday 6th March 2016, 10.30am

Where: Corner of Glenarvon Road and Flat Road, Largs

Who: Greens candidate for Paterson, John Brown and Greens Senate candidate Cr Michael Osborne

For comment: Contact Cr Michael Osborne on 0439 442 984 or John Brown on 0439 279 170

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MEDIA RELEASE: Hunter plan fails to provide residents with future beyond coal

coalNewcastle and Hunter residents are being urged to help make the region’s future far more than coal, by making a submission to the NSW Government’s current Regional Planning proposals for the area. Having worked with the NSW Government to extend the submission deadline to 24 March, the Greens NSW are urging Hunter residents to take the opportunity to make a submission focusing on sustainable 21st century opportunities for the region, rather than just the dead end plan of more coal mining and coal exports.

NSW Greens MP and Planning Spokesperson David Shoebridge met with Hunter community and environment groups in early February to discuss the Hunter Regional plan and Hunter City plan. At that meeting it was clear that residents and community groups were fully occupied with responding to council amalgamation plans, submissions for which closed on 28 February 2016, the exact same date as submissions were closing on the regional planning strategies.

Taking this message to the Minister for Planning produced a four week extension on submissions for the Hunter planning instruments to 24 March 2016.

The Greens are now calling on everyone concerned about the future of the Hunter and Newcastle to take advantage of this extra time and put a submission in calling for regional planning that delivers far more for the region than clinging to a dying coal industry.

“The government’s draft plan lays out a future for Newcastle as little more than a coal export facility with a train line linking up gasfields and coal quarries, “said Mr Shoebridge. “The Hunter community understand that this plan is neither sustainable or desirable. The Greens have a plan for future for this region is diverse and thriving, but this can only happen if the State’ regional plans reflect community aspirations and the economic realities of the energy market.”

“The draft plan sterilises significant areas of the region for coal and gas mining, which will entrench land use conflicts that threaten the region’s world class winery, equine and environmental tourism industries,” said Mr Shoebridge.

“The Planning Department’s vision for the future of this region is locked fimly in the past. Everyone with a stake in the future prosperity of the Hunter needs to make sure that they are part of the process for defining that future. “

John Mackenzie, Greens candidate for the seat of Newcastle, said that the plan showed a lack of understanding of the lived experience of Newcastle and Hunter residents dealing with the terminal decline of coal and gas mining in the region.

“This document refers constantly to a place called ‘Hunter City’, which exists only in the minds of Planning Department bureaucrats,” said John Mackenzie. “No one who lives in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens or Maitland would use this name. It demonstrates that this plan has had practically no engagement with the people of the region to date.”

“This should be a plan that charts a course for a twenty-first century economy for our region, based on clean production, sustainable industries and a culture of innovation, “said John Mackenzie. “Instead this draft plan locks the region into a continued dependency coal and gas, which are sunset industries already in steep and terminal decline.”


John Mackenzie, Newcastle Greens, 0405 433 550

David Shoebridge, Greens MP, 0408 113 952

Posted in 2016 Federal, Media Releases, Planning | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Call for Carrington Terminal to Close Due to Coal Slump

Interview by NBN with Greens member John Mckenzie.


See complete item here.

Posted in Clean Air, Climate Change, Coal Expansion, Environment, Newcastle Port | Tagged | Leave a comment

Keep the “Local” in Newcastle and Port Stephens

Therese Doyle and Michael Osborne

newcastle nobbys
Newcastle and Port Stephens are separate local government areas with their own distinctive features. Port Stephens is a rural, tourism-based community with many small towns, while Newcastle is an increasingly cosmopolitan city with diverse cultures and increasingly dense population.

No residents of either area have publicly expressed a desire to amalgamate their councils; nor have any community groups, businesses, unions, churches, clubs, sports groups or other entities advocated amalgamation. The proposed merger of the two councils is now simply a convenient face-saving device for the NSW state government after the demise of their ill-conceived move to form a megacouncil between Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

Let’s be clear, a merger between Port Stephens and Newcastle councils will result in a significant reduction in local democratic representation, especially for the residents of Port Stephens, who were told last November that they were safe from merger threats. The ratio of residents to councillors will increase significantly for both communities, but markedly in Port Stephens.

The NSW state government has no mandate for the proposal to amalgamate Newcastle with Port Stephens. For a council amalgamation to have any legitimacy, it should only proceed where residents and ratepayers of each local government area have voted in favour of amalgamation in a valid referendum.

The minister, says in his introduction to the proposal to merge the two councils “Four years of extensive consultation, research and analysis have demonstrated that change is needed in local government to strengthen local communities”. Mr Toole’s claim has no basis in fact.

The State Government has not conducted any effective community-based consultation. Indeed, public hearings have only just commenced in the 11th hour of the process: residents can speak for a few minutes in a public, government-sponsored public forum held in out-of-sight out-of-mind venues.

Local communities will certainly not be “strengthened” by the proposed merger. The merger will create a more centralised and remote council bureaucracy that will be less accessible to most people and offer fewer services.

The government’s merger proposal for Newcastle and Port Stephens confidently asserts that savings of $65 million will be made over 20 years by reducing senior management staff numbers, redeploying “back office” and administrative functions, efficiencies made through increased purchasing power and finally through reductions in elected official numbers. Trouble is, nowhere is it clearly demonstrated that these objectives and minimal savings will be achieved. The government has repeatedly refused to release the full report by KPMG, the financial consulting firm on whose analysis these figures are based.

We do know that the mergers will mean significant staff losses and a reduction in regional employment opportunities. Both councils will lose important local knowledge and high level expertise that will go when those council officers are dispensed with. This is no trivial consideration in a region that is suffering a significant economic downturn.

Councils used to be places that offered important local training and development opportunities, especially for communities with diverse needs. Sadly, that is increasingly not the case and will be much less so with a merged council. That adds up to a less responsive, not a more responsive council.

The research and recommendations of highly respected academic and industry experts who have cautioned against forced mergers have been ignored.

Professor Brian Dollery, Director of the Centre for Local Government at UNE states that “anyone who still believes that compulsory council consolidation will somehow lead to financial sustainability in local government, with more efficient councils, lower costs and substantial scale economies, has not bothered to acquaint themselves with the vast empirical literature on amalgamation”.

Percy Allen, Secretary of the NSW Treasury and Chair of the NSW Treasury Corporation between 1985 and 1994, points out in his November 2015 NSW Merger Progress Report that “amalgamating councils into a monolithic behemoth won’t encourage flexibility and agility” and, furthermore will not address the more fundamental problem of “prolonged underfunding of essential infrastructure assets”.

The Independent Local Government Review Panel itself has also conceded that “There is no direct, general relationship between council size and the efficiency of service delivery” and that mergers in themselves “will not produce worthwhile cost savings”.

Newcastle and Port Stephens are very different communities with distinct geographic identities – they should not be cobbled.

Despite bold assertions to the contrary “bigger” is not necessarily “better”. This merger should be stopped in its tracks.

Therese Doyle is a Greens Councillor on Newcastle City Council.

Michael Osborne is Greens Councillor and deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle City Council.

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Beyond Coal and Gas 2016

Beyond Coal and Gas

Friday April 8 – Monday April 11, 2016

Myuna Sport and Recreation Centre, Lake Macquarie, NSW

Ready to take our movement to the next phase? The three day Beyond Coal and Gas conference is a key opportunity for people working towards sustainable future solutions to come together, build new relationships and strategise. In an election year, with energy markets in rapid transition and momentum building for global climate action, there has never been a better time to unite.

“The Transition is Now”  is the theme for this year’s conference. Participants will hear about major shifts away from fossil fuels towards sustainable economies in talks by inspiring national and international speakers. The program includes panels, workshops, skill sharing and of course entertainment. And as with previous years, an open space model will allow participants themselves to help set the agenda.

Beyond Coal and Gas has been held twice before, once in South East Queensland (2014) and once in the Hunter Valley (2013), and feedback has highlighted how valuable the gathering is for people to feel inspired and supported in their struggles. The Central Coast has been chosen as the site for this year’s conference for its geographical beauty and because the location is central to many people around New South Wales opposing inappropriate coal and gas mining

Beyond Coal and Gas 2016 is an important opportunity to build networks and connect with people from around Australia to grow the movement beyond fossil fuels. As a movement event, we are eager to have you and your supporters at the gathering. We are also keen to make the program both inspiring and beneficial for your campaigns so we welcome your input and ideas for the conference. Contact us at if you have any thoughts about shaping this movement event.

Who should come?

The gathering is for everyone involved in the movement beyond coal and gas, and anyone wanting to become more involved. Participants are from all walks of life including farmers, traditional owners, students, doctors, faith groups and others who want to situate their work in the broader context of the movement beyond coal and gas.

We have a number of Indigenous Scholarships available to make the conference more accessible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to come along. If you would like to apply you can fill in the form on the website at

You can also apply to volunteer – volunteers are a crucial part of making the event run smoothly, and if you would like to volunteer you will get free registration to the whole weekend. You can apply to volunteer at

Where: Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre, Wangi Road, Myuna Bay.

When: 8 – 11 April 2016

Cost: $110 for early birds and $150 full rate. Day rates are also available. Cost includes all meals and access to the full program of talks and workshops.

Accommodation: accommodation is on site, with the option of bunk beds or camping.

How to register: Visit for all the information you need and to register.

Transport: The venue is a 10 minute drive from the Morisset train station, a shuttle bus will be running. It’s about 90 minutes drive north of Sydney or 40 minutes south of Newcastle.


The thing I value most about the gathering is finally feeling like I’m part of something bigger, hearing practical solutions to real scenarios and making new friends” – Participant feedback from the last gathering.


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Greens call public meeting on proposed Newcastle-Port Stephens Council merger

A public meeting has been called for Monday evening to help Port Stephens and Newcastle residents defend local democracy, Deputy Lord Mayor, Greens Cr Michael Osborne announced today.

Save our City“The State Government have initiated a poorly-advertised, tick-a-box, sham consultation process,” Greens Cr Michael Osborne said.

“When they made their forced council amalgamation announcement just before Christmas last year, they should have also announced a referendum of all affected residents,” Cr Osborne said.

“For a council amalgamation to have any legitimacy, it should only proceed where residents and ratepayers of each local government area have voted in favour of amalgamation in a valid referendum,” Cr Osborne said.

“A forced amalgamation between Newcastle City and Port Stephens is not the answer,” Greens Cr Therese Doyle said.

“When amalgamations have been forced on locals in other states like Victoria and Queensland, rates have gone up, services have stagnated and residents end up less connected to their local councillors,” Cr Doyle said.

“When the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into local government handed down its final report last year, they recommended that the Baird government commit to a policy of no forced amalgamations after finding that much of the ‘Fit for the Future’ assessment process was flawed,” Cr Doyle said.

“The Baird Government is proposing 35 forced amalgamations across the state claiming that they will create savings and efficiencies in local government, but has failed to release the key financial modelling report being relied upon,” Cr Doyle said.

“We are encouraging all residents to come along and hear the facts about the proposed forced amalgamation,” Cr Osborne said.

A submission guide will be provided on the night.

Public Meeting:     Keep our Councils Local!

When:                     Monday 8th February 6pm to 8pm

Where:                    Gallipoli Legion Club; upstairs, 3-5 Beaumont St, Hamilton (Newcastle)

Speakers include:

David Shoebridge, Greens NSW Upper House MP, Spokesperson on Local Government

Kate Washington, Labor MP for  Port Stephens, Shadow Minister for Hunter

Tim Crakanthorp, Labor MP for Newcastle, Councillor on Newcastle City Council

Therese Doyle, Greens Councillor on Newcastle City Council

John Brown, representing Port Stephens Greens


Contact: Cr Michael Osborne 0439 442 984  Cr Therese Doyle 0434 257 892

Posted in Local Community, Local Democracy, Media Releases, Newcastle Council | Tagged | Leave a comment

Public Meeting – Keep our Councils Local! – Feb 8th

Newcastle City Hall

Port Stephens and Newcastle residents defend local democracy.

When: Monday 8th February 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Where:  Gallipoli Legion Club; Upstairs, 3-5 Beaumont St, Hamilton (Newcastle).

Speakers include:

  • David Shoebridge, Greens NSW Upper House MP, Spokesperson on Local Government
  • Kate Washington, Labor MP for  Port Stephens, Shadow Minister for Hunter
  • Tim Crakanthorp, Labor MP for Newcastle, Councillor on Newcastle City Council
  • Therese Doyle, Greens Councillor on Newcastle City Council
  • John Brown, representing Port Stephens Greens

Facilitated  by  Michael Osborne, Greens Councillor and Deputy Mayor, Newcastle City Council

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Williamtown Contamination Map


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Newcastle and Port Stephens, a mismatch made in Macquarie Street

Media release

18 December 2015

Town HallThe Coalition’s forced amalgamations announced today have recommended that Newcastle and Port Stephens councils merge without a shred of evidence in support.

The Newcastle – Port Stephens forced merger plan must now go through a drawn out public inquiry with the Boundaries Commission; a process that will only strengthen the resolve of residents to stand up for their local councils.

This is a political struggle that will define NSW politics in 2016, not just in Newcastle and Port Stephens but across NSW, and Mike Baird is already on the back foot

Newcastle Greens Councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor Michael Osborne. said:

“The people of Newcastle or Port Stephens have not even been asked by this arrogant State Government if they want to merge.

“Local residents want a local council that is responsive to their needs, not an unresponsive bureaucracy like the State Government.

“There should be a plebiscite of all local residents to decide the size, shape and future of their local government,” Cr Osborne said

Newcastle Greens Councillor Therese Doyle said:

“The communities of Port Stephens and Newcastle are quite distinct. It’s quite obvious that neither will be well served by a mega-council that will be quite remote from the concerns of residents.

“The community of interest that links Newcastle and Port Stephens can be handled through existing channels of cooperation.

”There is no evidence to suggest that a mega council will be more efficient or viable than the two separate councils,” Cr Doyle said.

Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“The plan to force a merger between Newcastle and Port Stephens shows how an arrogant and distant state government has no idea what’s happening outside of Sydney.

“This is far from over, with a series of public inquiries starting in the New Year that will certainly galvanise even more public support for their councils.

“People aren’t mugs, they know that the bigger their council becomes the less say they will have in what goes on in their local patch.

“Newcastle politics can already be messy enough without throwing the toxic extra mix of Port Stephens into the brew.

“The Greens believe that local residents, not distant and arrogant Premiers, should decide the future of their local councils and we will work with residents to keep their councils local,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Media contact David Shoebridge 0408 113 952, Therese Doyle 0418 905 417, Michael Osborne 0418 971 951


David Shoebridge

Greens MP in the NSW Legislative Council

P: (02) 9230 3030 T: @ShoebridgeMLC


NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street Sydney NSW, 2000 Australia

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Public Transport for Hunter Communities

Public Transport for Hunter Communities

Next Meeting

Wednesday 16 December,  Station Hotel Hamilton 4:00pm

Public Transport

Concerned Hunter citizens will be meeting again next Wednesday, 16 December at 4:00 pm at the Station Hotel Hamilton to discuss the year’s events and regroup. many of us will stay on for dinner, although others will be retiring to attend the Save Our Rail meeting at a nearby establishment. You are most welcome to join us for dinner if you feel so inclined.

Posted in Public Transport, Rail Line, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate Rally – Newcastle Breakfast and Train Ride to Sydney

Paris Summit Rally - Newcastle

Click here for more details

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Keep Newcastle Transport in Public Hands Forum

PublicTransport Forum

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Green Streets – News and Views from the Newcastle Greens

Greens Streets

  • Making our urban forest safer
  • ‘Beautiful terror’ in art
  • Community energy powers on
  • Who will revitalise Newcastle? A tale of broken promises
  • T4: Multinational trump locals – again
  • How TAFE is being sacrificed on the altar of ‘competition’

And lots of other interesting articles on current issues in Newcastle.

Read it here

Posted in Clean Air, Climate Change, Coal Expansion, Container Deposits, Education, Local Community, Local Democracy, Newcastle Port, Planning, Public Transport, Rail Line, Trees, Uncategorized, Urban Renewal | Leave a comment

Greens Media Release on Newcastle Rail

Following the decision on Tuesday by Newcastle Council to support the extension of light rail in Newcastle and the formation of a Hunter Transport Authority, Newcastle Greens Councillor Therese Doyle said ‘There is widespread concern in the Newcastle community over the passing of a resolution without explicitly stating that the Council supports the retention of the rail corridor and intercity rail services to Newcastle Station’.

‘I want to make it very clear that the Greens support for the light rail extension and the establishment of a Hunter Transport Authority occurred on the understanding that Council would go on to make a separate statement of support for retaining the rail. Continue reading

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Pacific protest: Australians walk-on to Newcastle coal port in solidarity

Media release

10 September 2015

While Tony Abbot, John Key and leaders from Pacific nations are locked in a leaders retreat for the Pacific Islands Forum today, a group of 30 Australians have walked onto the site of the world’s biggest coal port in Newcastle in solidarity with Smaller Island States in the Pacific, who have called for a moratorium on new coal mines and a global climate agreement that can keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees in a fight for their very survival. Continue reading

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State Greens call on Baird Government to lift gag on Newcastle revitalisation discussion

Rail CutThe state meeting of the NSW Greens in Gloucester this weekend has called on the state government to lift its gag on discussion of key parts of the city’s revitalisation in its current “Community Engagement” process.

The government’s process has specifically excluded discussion of revitalisation options such as re-establishing rail services on the Wickham-Newcastle rail corridor, controversial planning controls for the city’s eastern precinct, and the location of future light rail. Continue reading

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Suncrowd – Australia’s First Bulk-Buy for Home Energy Storage


On 23rd June Suncrowd will open the bulk-buy offers and reveal the technology selected for our Newcastle campaign!

We can’t wait to see you there for this exciting step towards a clean energy future

For more information

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Opinion: Perfect Storm for a Progressive Alternative in Newcastle

Newcastle has drawn the short straw when it comes to federal politics. Both Labor and the Coalition, for their own distinct reasons, have effectively abandoned any interest in presenting positive campaigns for the future in this electorate. This has amounted to wilful neglect of the real issues in our region, and a recurrent failure to deliver any meaningful benefits to our community.

Everyone knows the ALP takes Newcastle for granted. The Newcastle electorate is summarised in the Sussex St spreadsheets with one word: “Safe”. This ALP campaign will be no different to the last. We can expect no election time sweeteners, no new initiatives, no regional vision or courageous leadership coming from Labor. At best, we may once again see a dusting off of those embarrassing plans for an unbuildable convention centre and ‘iconic skybridge’ that resurface each election. Newcastle will miss out again, as any big ALP commitments will undoubtedly be saved for more marginal seats.

Meanwhile, Newcastle is marked on the Coalition spreadsheets with a different word: “Unwinnable”. They know that donation scandals have cost the trust of those voters who made the difficult switch to Liberal in recent elections out of sheer frustration with the idleness of the ALP. Those voters will not forget just how quickly Coalition politicians fell prey to the corrupting influence of political donations. The Liberal Party knows just how hard it will be to win that trust, and those voters, back.

Newcastle needs alternative political leadership now more than ever. Our region has been hit first and worst by the global decline of the coal price. Both of the old parties have been idle bystanders as the coal and gas companies have abandoned the region, leaving behind a legacy of youth joblessness, disrupted communities, bankrupted small businesses and enormous irreparable voids in the landscape.

We now find ourselves in a downturn without a transition strategy or even so much as a jobs’ plan, and this is an appalling failure of political leadership.

The end of the fossil fuel and pollution economy era was as predictable as it was inevitable. The Greens have campaigned for over a decade about the need for a planned transition away from fossil fuels, especially in regions like ours with a history of reliance on carbon intensive industries.

The Greens are the progressive alternative to the old parties necessary to position our region to take advantage of the shift to a clean energy future.

The transition from a pollution economy to a clean energy economy means opening new industries, innovative business models and new jobs. Our clean energy package will renew investment in our region’s world-class manufacturing and energy industries, revitalise local business and cut pollution. To get there, the Greens will enhance our capacity for innovation and training through increased funding for our research institutions, including the CSIRO, Newcastle University and Hunter TAFE. We have a jobs plan that focuses on the real work needed to retrofit our existing infrastructure, reskills our workforce for more secure, meaningful employment, and supports workers as they move across industries.

As the Greens candidate for the seat of Newcastle, I am deeply committed to the sustainability, vitality and prosperity of this region. I believe we can transition to a twenty-first century economy here, and that means more resources to invest in the welfare of our communities and environment, and guarantees an economically resilient future for our city and its future generations.

John Mackenzie is contesting the seat of Newcastle in the upcoming federal election as the candidate for the Greens.

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Newcastle’s Light Rail Farce Needs Urgent Intervention from Federal Candidates

John Mackenzie, Newcastle Greens, Candidate for Seat of Newcastle

John Mackenzie, Newcastle Greens

The Greens candidate for the Federal seat of Newcastle, Dr John Mackenzie, today called on newly endorsed federal Liberal candidates in the Hunter to publicly support the regional community’s concerns about the state Coalition government’s unfolding Newcastle light rail fiasco.

“If local Coalition candidates were serious about wanting to represent the interests of the Hunter community, they’d be lobbying their state Coalition colleagues to bring the Newcastle light rail project back on track, to at least comply with Federal government standards for infrastructure projects,” Dr Mackenzie said.

“For many in the Hunter, this will be a key test of whether these candidates are serious about standing up for the community, or are really just paper candidates making up the numbers.”

Dr Mackenzie, who attended this week’s packed community forum on the future of the Newcastle rail corridor, said speakers at the forum had highlighted the project’s non-compliance with relevant Federal infrastructure project guidelines, and the continued veil of secrecy maintained by the state Coalition government on key project documents.

“Even a cursory look at relevant Federal government guidelines exposes the woeful deficiencies of the state government’s current Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the Newcastle Light Rail project,” he said.

“No wonder this project was refused Federal funding a number of years ago, and that the current state Coalition government has been too embarrassed to apply again,” Dr Mackenzie said.

“It’s not good enough for local Coalition candidates to stay silent and toe the party line on this, given the history of this project, and the continued secrecy and incompetence of the state Coalition’s mismanagement of it,” Dr Mackenzie said.

Dr Mackenzie said that Greens state MPs would be pursuing these matters on behalf of the community.

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Vale John Kaye

John Kaye

NSW Greens MP Dr John Kaye died today after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in February.

Newcastle Greens will be gathering on Friday 4:00-6:00pm at the Burwood Hotel, 77 Berner Street, Merewether to remember his contributions and share our memories of this remarkable man.  John’s many Newcastle colleagues and friends are invited to attend.

Graham Whittall


Newcastle Greens

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