Sunday, 24 August 2008

Newcastle Greens Team Tackles Climate Change

Newcastle Greens
24 August 2008

“The Greens plan to make Newcastle a leader - locally, regionally, nationally and internationally - in tackling the challenge of climate change. There’s never been a more important time to vote Green!” Lord Mayoral candidate Councillor Michael Osborne said.

“Greens councillors will move to ensure Newcastle Council proactively develops a Climate Change Strategy in its first year in full consultation with the community and with expert advice. In the remaining weeks of the campaign the Greens’ team will announce climate change polices to deal with Council's own operations. Today we're outlining a plan for community initiatives that can start now!" said Councillor Michael Osborne.

“A community Green Power program is a key feature of the Strategy. This 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.

“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) … all these are ways Council can help the community take positive steps to reduce climate change.

“A significant increase in Council’s budget for cycleways from less than 0.1% of the budget to 1% is a top Greens’ priority. A network of safe, connected cycleways throughout the city is urgently needed if the city is to be serious about tackling fossil fuel-driven climate change.

“Council support for community based initiatives advocated by organisations like ‘Transition Towns’, local vegetable buying co-ops, community markets and the use of public land to grow food will reduce our carbon footprint and build resilience in the community.

“Council also has a role to play as a voice for the community, lobbying other spheres of government to adopt policies to tackle climate change, including:

  • Continuing Council's opposition to the expansion of Newcastle coal export facilities;
  • Lifting the minimum standards for water and energy savings required under BASIX;
  • Significantly increasing investment in public transport infrastructure and services, including local initiatives such as expanding free bus services;
  • Redirecting spending on major dams (a significant contributor to human-caused methane emissions) into climate-friendly strategies such as increasing water recycling, doubling the rainwater tank rebate, and water-efficient washing machine rebates available.

“Council can lead many initiatives for its community to tackle the challenge of climate change. As mayor I plan to show real leadership about this serious threat to our community,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

Contact: Greens Lord Mayoral and Ward 1 candidate Cr Michael Osborne 0439 442984

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