Greens launch Newcastle and Wallsend campaign: Kick-off for a clean energy future for the Hunter

Media release: 1 February 2015

Newcastle Wallsend Campaign Launch

The Greens today launched their campaign for the seats of Newcastle and Wallsend with a vision for a clean energy future that stabilises household power bills, eliminates greenhouse gas emissions and creates tens of thousands of new jobs in the Hunter.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye travelled to Newcastle to outline the vision with his party’s candidates Michael Osborne who is standing in Newcastle and Aleona Swegen in Wallsend.

Key points in the Greens energy plan include:

  • A new partnership with Hunter households to support the transition away from coal-fired electricity and gas and to help finance rooftop solar and energy efficient equipment;
  • Investment in a “smart grid” for the Hunter that allows households and businesses to buy and sell clean energy, including roof top solar and regional and state-wide wind power;
  • Maintaining the wires and poles in public hands to allow for the transition to a 21st century grid that is focused on renewable energy and local energy trading;
  • Repealing the Baird government’s wind farm planning guidelines and providing a more effective and transparent development assessment pathway;
  • A new funding deal for community-based wind farms and other renewable energy projects; and
  • A fund to kick start manufacturing in wind turbine technology, the new smart household energy management technologies and emerging solar applications.

Details of the plan, including funding, will be announced as the election progresses.

Dr Kaye said: “Imagine a world in which power bills are no longer painful, dangerous greenhouse gas emissions are eliminated and tens of thousands of new jobs are created.

“This is not some pipe dream, but the Greens’ fully-costed plan for a clean energy future for NSW.

“Rapid developments in technology and falling costs for renewable energy technologies like wind generators and solar power mean that this state can escape from the expense and pollution of coal mining and coal-seam gas drilling.

“A 100% renewable energy NSW is possible, affordable and essential. But it will not happen as long as the old parties remain committed to coal and gas and continue to frustrate and undermine wind and solar.

“These are big changes but more of the same would only produce ever worse results for the environment, households and the economy.

“The gas companies are ramping up the pressure on politicians with a scare campaign on shortages, despite numerous studies showing that there are no threats to the security of the supply of gas, only rising prices.

“The propaganda machines of the coal companies are working overtime to destroy community confidence in renewable energy and peddle exaggerated predictions of employment numbers.

“While the old parties listen to the lies and respond to the pressure of the vested interests, the Greens are working to create the new energy economy,” Dr Kaye said.

Clr Osborne said: “Households can become active participants in the clean energy revolution. By taking control of their energy usage, families can minimise their bills and undermine the dominance of the big power companies.

“This will eliminate the need for massive investment in new power lines while increasing opportunities for central station renewable energy sources like solar thermal and wind.

“The next generation of jobs in the Hunter will only become a reality if this state starts the transition now and gets ahead of the rest of the world.

“Labor left the Hunter pock-marked with coal mines and inundated with coal dust.

“The Liberals allowed the coal and gas companies to continue to dominate energy policy in NSW

“The Greens have been consistently outlining the plan for a clean energy future. Tens of thousands of jobs created in the Hunter, families taking control of their bills, training subsidies provided for workers shifting to the clean economy and proper funding for our Hunter TAFE.

“We can make the change; it is possible, affordable and essential,” Clr Osborne said.

Ms Swegen said: “The Greens are a much-needed voice in our political climate and a true alternative to the old parties at the upcoming state election.

“Helping Hunter households move to renewable electricity for heating and cooking and, in some cases, hot water will slash greenhouse gas emissions and make the CSG industry redundant.

“The electorate of Wallsend has everything to gain from a solar revolution. All it can lose is coal dust and youth unemployment.

“There are limitless opportunities for new jobs in research, development, manufacturing and installation and maintenance.

“The Greens believe that governments should stand with the community and with households in a partnership for a clean energy future.

“All it takes is the courage to stand up to the fossil fuel lobby.

“I will be campaigning for a future for the Wallsend electorate with a progressive and sustainable local economy, where everyone has access to the best available public services and high quality education,” Ms Swegen said.

For more information:

John Kaye 0407 195 455

Michael Osborne 0439 442 984

Aleona Swegen 0405 168 727

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