Greens contest Newcastle by-elections on coal-free platform

GREENS candidates for the Newcastle and Charlestown by-elections are challenging their Labor opponents with a policy to remove NSW government subsidies to coal and fossil gas operations and phase out fossil-fuelled power stations by 2030.

Lou Caruana

Their policy, which would see the creation of an expert panel to recommend the best mix of renewable technologies and energy efficiency measures, would see the ultimate closure of the Hunter and Lake Macquarie coal-fired power stations.

Greens candidate for Newcastle Michael Osborne said: “The Labor party supports the continuation of a coal economy for the Hunter, despite the continued collapse in employment opportunities and the appalling health impacts on local communities.

“While every ALP candidate says something nice about renewable energy, the Labor party has failed the real test on slashing emissions and creating a new export industry for the Hunter.”

“Labor cannot have it both ways. They are either with the Greens on turning NSW into a world-leader in renewable energy or they are stuck in the past.”

Greens candidate for Charlestown Jane Oakley, said that the Labor candidate for the seat Jodie Harrison is the mayor of a municipality that is on the front line of climate change.

“If she is to be taken seriously on sea-level rise issues, she has to persuade her party to dump its opposition to taking serious steps towards cutting the state's emissions with a plan for 100% renewable electricity supply.

“Coal-fired power stations like Eraring are polluting dinosaurs that belong in a by-gone era.

“Labor wants to present itself to the electorate as the party of the environment yet it shies away from the first serious opportunity to take NSW off coal and gas and create an affordable, jobs-rich clean energy supply.”

The Labor party's Environment spokesman, Luke Foley, told the NSW parliament Labor will vote against the Greens' bill to slash greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the health impacts of coal-fired power stations and transition the state to 100% renewable electricity generation.