THE Greens have turned up some climate change heat on Labor byelection candidates, accusing them of hypocrisy over their stance on the Hunter’s coal-fired power stations.
State Greens MP John Kaye joined the party’s Newcastle candidate, Michael Osborne, and Charlestown candidate Jane Oakley in Newcastle yesterday, saying Labor candidates were ‘‘saying nice things about the environment while their party was doing the opposite’’.
The environmental storm formed in August when Labor refused to support a Greens’ bill aimed at replacing all coal and gas-fired power stations by 2030.
Mr Kaye said the ambitious target could be met, with the bill encouraging a 14-year transition from fossil-fuelled energy to wind and solar-generated power, the retraining of power station workers and the removal of state subsidies to the coal industry.
Labor’s shadow climate change minister Luke Foley ridiculed the bill, saying it would cripple the Hunter’s coal industry and was ‘‘not a serious policy proposal’’.
‘‘While every ALP candidate says something nice about renewable energy, Tim Crakanthorp’s party has failed the real test on slashing emissions and creating a new export industry for the Hunter,’’ Mr Osborne said.
Ms Oakley took aim at her Charlestown opponent, Lake Macquarie mayor Jodie Harrison, who has championed climate change planning guidelines in her council role.
‘‘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 100per cent renewable electricity supply,’’ she said.
‘‘Coal-fired power stations like Eraring are polluting dinosaurs that belong to a bygone era.’’
On a day when Yancoal appeared certain to be laying off a further 50 workers from its Abel mine at Black Hill, Mr Crakanthorp reiterated his support for mining-related jobs in the region.
‘‘I am a very strong advocate for renewable energy,’’ he said, ‘‘when it can be achieved through positive economic initiatives’’.
‘‘Labor has a good track record of investing in environmental and renewable projects. Federal Labor has put a huge amount of money into the CSIRO [at Mayfield] and into research in the renewable energy sector.’’
Byelection nominations open
NOMINATIONS for the Newcastle and Charlestown byelections formally opened yesterday, with one notable absence.
Newcastle resident Tony Brown announced yesterday that he would not contest the October 25 byelection, despite previously saying he would.
Mr Brown said his decision was ‘‘all about timing and the financial resources required to run both now and again in next year’s March general poll’’.
Nominations will remain open until noon on Thursday, with pre-poll voting opening on Monday, October 13.
A spokesperson for the NSW Electoral Commission said a list of nominations would be available from Tuesday.
Among those who have signalled their intention to nominate for Newcastle are Michael Osborne (Greens), Tim Crakanthorp (Labor), Karen Howard (Ind), Milton Caine (Christian Democrats), Jennifer Stefanac (PUP-backed Independent), Brian Clare (Ind), Jacqueline Haines (Ind) and Steve O’Brien (Socialist Alliance).
Among those running in Charlestown are Luke Arms (Ind), Jodie Harrison (Labor), Jane Oakley (Greens), Suellen Wrightson (PUP-backed Independent), Reverend Brian Tucker (Christian Democrats), Marc Sky (Ind) and Arjay Martin (Ind).