2013 Wrap Up – 2014 Newcastle’s Year of Action
As 2013 draws to a close, concerned, thinking Australians have more reason than ever to stand up and become involved in political action. I urge you to get involved by getting in touch with one or more of the contacts below.
In the Federal area we have the new Abbot government busy dismantling the minimally effective response we had to climate change while the world suffers record breaking hot weather, bushfires, super storms and even mini-tornados in Hornsby. They couldn’t even be bothered to send an official to the global talks in Warsaw on how to reduce global greenhouse emissions. Meanwhile they go on pretending that their inhumane refugee policies can “stop the boats”.
At the State level, the O’Farrell government’s changes to the planning laws have made a mockery of their election promises to allow the community more input into development decisions. In Newcastle plans to sell of the Port, thinly disguised as a 99 year lease, will deliver a viable, profit making piece of public infrastructure into private hands with the public losing control over a large slab of Newcastle’s foreshore to private industry.
Newcastle Council, dominated by developers and right wing conservative has shown a lack of long term vision, condemning Newcastle to a second-rate future, by failing to take advantage of Federal and State funds offered to extend the Newcastle Art Gallery, applying cuts across the board to community and cultural services and supporting the removal of the rail line, reducing Newcastle’s transport infrastructure.
Meanwhile Governments at all levels are in the thrall of large energy companies, subsidising polluting coal mine development while refusing to recognise that this a dying industry and that Australia’s future lies in developing a viable renewable energy industry.
At Gloucester the planned expansion of Coal Seam Gas (CSG) mining and fracking with 110 wells threaten ground water and community health. Gloucester is a test case for CSG. If development is successful here nowhere in NSW will be safe with Port Stephens as the next area slated for development with an additional 330 wells and a gas pipeline from Gloucester to Tomago.
But it’s not all negative. This year our Councillors managed to ensure that the Council’s comprehensive Newcastle Cycling Strategy was adopted by Council. As well, transparency has been improved with webcasts of Council meetings finally commencing in the last few months.
Intensive campaigning and direct action saw Dart Energy drop its CSG development plans at Fullerton Cove and Fern bay protecting the sand beds that form part of Newcastle’s water supply. Sustained community action has so far kept Port Waratah’s planned new coal terminal at bay. And over 300 people turned up to the rally for climate change action on a very wet Newcastle Sunday.
Together we can make a difference. So in 2014, I urge you to get involved and make your voice heard. The Newcastle Greens will be organising a number of important campaigns over the year to bring important issues to the fore and we need your help.
Our Greens Councillors continue to stand up against the developer dominated Council’s policies.
If you want to get involved:
- Join the Greens at http://nsw.greens.org.au/join-or-renew.
- Volunteer to help with current campaigns being run by the Newcastle Greens. Contact Cathy Burgess (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0413 815 738)
- Talk to a Greens Councillor about your concerns – Michael Osborne (MichaelOsborne4Newcastle@gmail.comor 0439 442 984) or Therese Doyle (email@example.com or 0434 257 892).
- Follow the activities of your councillors on Facebook – Michael Osborne at https://www.facebook.com/MichaelOsborne4Newcastle and Therese Doyle at https://www.facebook.com/therese.doyle.142 or through Newcastle Greens at https://www.facebook.com/NewcastleGreensFanpage
- Get involved in the campaign against the expansion of GSG in Gloucester by contacting John Mackenzie (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0405433550).