An end to coal and gas by 2030, an appointed, independent group to oversee the transition, increased coal export levies, and pollution control are among the Greens plan for the future of the Hunter.
Led by candidate for Newcastle John Mackenzie, the party says empowering coal workers and communities in the transition away from fossil fuels is its Number One focus ahead of the NSW Election.
Greens MP and spokesperson for Treasury and Energy, Abigail Boyd, who visited Newcastle on Monday 20 February, says the days of fossil fuels dominating the region are numbered.
“We don’t need to choose between taking urgent climate action and supporting coal communities – we can do both,” she said.
“The workers and communities in coal reliant communities here in the Hunter and across the state are no fools, and they can tell that the Liberal and Labor parties are lying to them, saying coal can keep going for decades when it clearly can’t and shouldn’t.
“We must end coal and gas by 2030 if we have any hope of avoiding the worst outcomes from a rapidly changing climate.
“Only the Greens are willing to embrace the reality of the situation and commit to working hand in hand with communities to acknowledge the change and seize the opportunity it presents – to deliver a brighter, diversified future for the region.”
The Greens plan to:
- Ban new coal and gas projects – including the Santos Narrabri gas project
- Phase out existing coal and gas projects, along with coal-fired power stations, by 2030
- Establish a fully-funded, accountable and independent NSW Energy Transition Authority to oversee the transition away from reliance on fossil fuels and to establish region-specific transition authorities to coordinate the diversification of local economies previously reliant on fossil fuels
- Increase coal export levies in line with Queensland rates, raising an additional $8 billion every year in state revenue, and commit at least $500 million each year to the work of the NSW Energy Transition Authority and its local region-specific transition authorities
- Require best practice clean-up of mines and power station sites and the installation of internationally standard pollution-control technology on power station stacks
- Support the call for a TAFE New Industries Training Centre in the Hunter, to re-skill and up-skill workers, and ensure all impacted workers across the state have access to relevant training
“There is no doubt that the closure of coal mines and coal-fired power stations will hit the Hunter hard,” Mr Mackenzie said.
“We must have a plan to ensure that these communities, who have long helped to keep the lights on across our state, are not left behind as we transition to a decarbonised economy.
“Newcastle is ahead of the curve when it comes to our plan to diversify the Newcastle and Hunter regional economy – all we need is a government willing to give us the support we need to chart our own course away from the fossil fuel industry and towards new and sustainable industries.”
For more election stories:
- Shooters, Fishers and Farmers target Upper Hunter
- Labor vows to build a high school at North Rothbury
- ‘There’s a lot at stake’, says Business Hunter CEO
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