Monday, 25 August 2008

Newcastle Alliance forum

Newcastle needs generational change with genuine leadership not dithering, bickering and excuses.

Newcastle needs new leadership in tackling the challenge of climate change with significant initiatives and real outcomes.

Newcastle needs new leadership to change the Council to be focussed on serving members of the community rather than ignoring them.

And Newcastle needs new leadership to address the state of our City’s infrastructure and the rundown areas within our City.

I have the experience and skills to lead the Council, to make the necessary changes and to make our City a safe and secure place to live for all residents.

Climate change is the greatest economic and environmental challenge of our time. Climate change will impact on our lifestyles, on our biodiversity and on all aspects of life.

There are 142,000 people in Newcastle and every one of them will be affected by the climate crisis.

Some scientists are predicting very large increases in the sea level. If this happens, many family homes will go under.

Will the coal companies, who are making massive profits, be made to pay for the relocation costs or pay to raise the houses?

  • 1200 families who live in Stockton
  • 900 families who live in Carrington and
  • 1400 families who live in the Maryville/Wickham area

Newcastle City Council has an important role to play in, not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but in managing the impacts of climate change for our community.

  • As Lord Mayor, I will ensure Newcastle Council proactively develops a Climate Change Strategy in its first year, in full consultation with the community and with expert advice.
  • This Strategy will include Newcastle Council establishing a community Green Power program, that involves Council bulk purchasing cheaper green energy from electricity providers and selling it on to residents at an affordable rate. This scheme has already been piloted in Victoria. Good for families and good for the environment.
  • As Lord Mayor, I will move for a significant increase in Council’s budget for cycleways from less than 0.1% of the budget to 1%. Our City needs a network of connected cycleways separated from the road traffic, where Newcastle families can cycle in safety. Good for families and good for the environment.
  • As Lord Mayor, I will support the community to adapt to climate change with Newcastle Council providing
  • interest-free loans for installing solar panels
  • a fund to encourage and subsidise the take-up of solar hot water systems
  • investigating rate reductions for maintaining significant trees
  • a free or cheap bicycle hire system, (like the one recently introduced in Paris)
  • supporting community based initiatives like local vegetable buying co-ops, community markets and the use of public land to grow food
  • As Lord Mayor, I will continue to stand up for the community – whether it is about the Sydney Labor government taking away community involvement in planning, under-funding public transport or building out our harbour.
  • As Lord Mayor, I will continue to stand with the community for appropriate development to move our City forward and against inappropriate development that over-shadows, is too big and bulky and is not in keeping with the heritage of our City.

Newcastle Council needs to show leadership and take the initiative with climate change.

Council needs to adopt the ultimate objective of full carbon neutrality for all Council activities, including offsetting unavoidable carbon emissions.

Council needs to adopt annual carbon reduction targets and reduce Council’s own greenhouse gas emissions in line with them.

Council needs to reduce the size of it’s vehicle fleet to the minimum required and shift the fleet to vehicles with at least 7 Star Greenhouse Rating, according to the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide.

And Council needs to shift its purchase of electricity for its own operations from fossil fuel sources to Green Power from renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro.

Council can lead many initiatives for its community to tackle the challenge of climate change.

As Lord Mayor I will show real leadership about this serious threat to our community.

The time to act on climate change is now.

It’s time for generational change

It’s time for new leadership

It’s time to vote green.

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