27 January, 2011
The Greens candidate for Newcastle, John Sutton, today welcomed yesterday’s public response by the Member for Newcastle, Jodi McKay, to calls from the Newcastle community for a single, independent, one-stop-shop authority to act on complaints about dust, noise, vibrations and odour caused by local coal transport and loading operations, but condemned her advocacy for continuing Newcastle’s dependence on coal.
“I’m very pleased that Ms McKay has taken up proposals by Throsby basin communities for a single, independent authority to deal with local coal impacts, and I look forward to a further statement from the current Labor government (of which she is a Minister) and the Coalition Opposition that this will become a reality following the March election.
“But I’m very disappointed that Ms McKay and NSW Labor continue to actively advocate expanded coal exports through the Port of Newcastle, despite the overwhelming evidence indicating the contribution of these exports to climate change, and the clear need for a planned transition away from the Hunter’s dependence on non-renewable energy sources to a jobs-rich, carbon-neutral, renewable energy economy.
“Unfortunately, Ms McKay, NSW Labor and the Coalition have failed on the big picture challenge presented by climate change, and the need for a planned, structured, equitable and long-term transition away from our reliance on coal.
“Yesterday’s announcement by Ms McKay of her support for the Kooragang T4 coal loader demonstrates that it’s still business as usual for her as far as the continued expansion of the coal industry is concerned.
“Ms McKay and NSW Labor must recognise that the reality of climate change means that this approach is not sustainable, and that the sooner we begin the necessary transition away from coal, the less pain and the more opportunities such a transition will offer to local communities and the regional economy.
“Every extra ton of coal mined and exported is a step backward in making this necessary transition, and in meeting the challenge of climate change.
“Instead of supporting the projected additional 60 million to 100 million tonnes of coal that will be exported every year via the proposed T4 Kooragang coal loader expansion, Ms McKay should be supporting The Greens call for no further expansion of coal mining or coal loading infrastructure, and a strategy for a phased transition to jobs-rich renewable energy,” Mr Sutton said.
For further information or comment, please contact John Sutton (Greens candidate for Newcastle), on 4969 2668 or 0411 154 004.