The Moruya Golf Club saw a full auditorium assembled to listen to Mark Butler, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy and Sen. Jenny McAllister speak at a Community Forum focusing on Renewables, Climate Change and outlining Labor’s Action Plan on Climate Change.
Mark Butler and Sen. Jenny McAllister, at the invitation of Gilmore Electorate Labor candidate Fiona Phillips, were delighted to see over one hundred turn out for the forum and took a over an hour of questions from the floor. The primary message from Mark was that the Labor party are ready to act on Climate Change which demands a whole of economy approach in order to ensure the solutions that are set in place in the short term are cemented in place for the long term.
Above: Mark Butler after the Forum Speech by Mark Butler: Managing Climate-Related Financial Risk - Lessons From Adani the Sydney Institute Monday, 19 February 2018 Senator McAllister provided an essential overview of what was happening at a NSW State Level while Mark Butler spoke of the federal government approach. Both share a long history in politics and both have a passionate determination to see a change of policy around climate change and renewables. Of interest was the observation that as each new generation of Federal member take their seats the old guard retire and with them goes the doubt and the reluctance to accept Climate Change. “It doesn’t matter what party they are in. Everyone of the younger members acknowledge Climate Change and want to be part of the solution”. In Mark’s opening presentation he spoke of the primary pressure points reiterating the vulnerability of Australia to Climate Change from intense weather to coastal inundation. He also address the issues around carbon energy and gave an overview of the measures that have now been put in place in South Australia that will see the worlds largest Thermal Solar plant installed, the worlds largest lithium battery unveiled and the new technologies that have linked solar rooftop to rooftop with domestic batteries into an urban power plant. He spoke of the very poor pick up by Australians to electric cars and alarmed the audience with the very real prediction that internal combustion vehicles will be dinosaurs in the not too distant future and that the cars we have in Australia already do not comply with many international pollution laws. The issue of substantive land clearing was raised and its consequences in terms of runoff and its impact on carbon reduction. He advised that if Labor win at the next election they will bring a halt to the vast open clearing that is now allowed in Qld and NSW following state rollbacks of the laws. “Enough is enough” Mark told the meeting that whilst Labor might be in Opposition that did not stop them travelling around, especially in regional areas to hear from the people and find out what was important to them. During the meeting the issue of human rights and Manus Island was raised from the floor. To respond Mark said his area was Climate Change and Energy so he was not able to make any informed comment on the issue however he would take back to his Shadow Minister the concerns voiced by the meeting. The message from the floor was very matter of fact. “There is an elephant in the room. While we are all talking about Climate change we have to also be talking about offshore detention centres. A vision of Australia as being a place we can all be proud of with detention camps in the sidelines is something we can’t stand for”. “Give our humanity back”. A comment to the Beagle after the meeting about the Elephant in the Room revealed just how much of an issue the continuing Australian position grates at the very fabric of our community. “Though HIS NAME wasn’t mentioned everyone could see an image of that despicable arsewipe and Sudmalis backs him and his sadistic Chamber of Horrors.” Another local issue that was on everyone’s lips was the Regional Forestry Agreements that lacked any transparency and were already a “done and dusted” deal long before the token public consultation that just took place. It was agreed that just like water theft from the Murray Darling the same applied of State forests where there was less than acceptable scrutiny and less than acceptable compliance and that basically the agreements are not worth the paper they are written on. There was interesting discussion about Adani with the simple and unchallengeable observation that the world demand for coal is downward and as such the very idea of opening a coal mine, the biggest in the world, at a time when coal mines is closing is highly questionable; as to the notion it will employ thousands due to the very real fact that if supply increases demand will decrease on Hunter Valley coal which will simply see a redistribution of the workers from one site to another. Barney from Moruya weighed in with some advice that those displaced miners might be employed in a nation building project such as a South East railway to provide the much needed transport infrastructure that is causing the South East to economically lag behind. The final issue of the night was the observation that the marine ecology of the South East was already suffering the effects of climate change. Following the meeting Mark and Jenny met with groups keen to present their cases for a variety of issues to take back with them.
Above: Fiona Phillips (L) and Sen Jenny McAllister after the Forum As the Federal election approaches there will be more and more representation of politicians coming to the South Coast to show their colours. Earlier that day Greens Justin Fielding was touring the South East looking at the concerns raised by the community around the need to strengthen marine parks, to address the under-resourcing of the Batemans Marine Park and research.