Monday 23 March 2015


The Clarence Branch of Climate Change Australia has surveyed candidates standing for election on March 28 in the seat of Clarence about their attitudes to climate change.

Group spokesperson Claire Purvis was disappointed that of the eight candidates only the Greens Janet Cavanaugh, Independent Debrah Novak and Christian Democrat Carol Ordish responded.

Candidates were asked for their vision and plans on the future of electricity generation and how they would encourage renewable energy industries.  They were also asked how they would protect residents from climate change impacts such as coastal erosion, flooding and storms.

Both Janet Cavanaugh and Debrah Novak gave considered responses. Carol Ordish responded by saying that people everywhere are to be responsible for where they reside.

"Janet Cavanaugh told us the Greens have a plan to end fossil fuel power generation by 2030, having already moved legislation," Ms Purvis said. "They propose a state-based renewable energy support scheme, calling for an all-party commitment to a renewable energy future for NSW, enshrined in legislation, to provide a stable and attractive investment environment.  The Greens also plan to phase out coal exports, including retraining workers.  To protect residents from climate change impacts, they would require new developments to take into account sea level rise predictions, include buffer zones  to protect foreshores and allow for future coastal retreat, and plan for increased storm intensity in building codes."

"Debrah Novak also strongly supports phasing out coal power in favour of renewable energy.  Ms Novak is concerned about inadequate funding for climate change research and development.  She pointed to relationships between fossil fuel lobbyists and government as a barrier to a clean energy future.  She is committed to working with other elected  MPs with the same vision to advocate clean energy technologies.  In addition to strengthening building codes, she called for a consultative approach to coastal planning issues, including invonvement with traditional owners."

Ms Puvis was disappointed that neither Labor nor the Nationals responded to the survey.

"Labor's Trent Gilbert told a candidates' forum in Grafton that we should reduce reliance on coal.  He pointed to renewable energy policies in California, without spelling out any Labor proposal.  We have not seen any commitment at all from Nationals' Chris Gulaptis on the issue.  He should be actively promoting a switch to supporting renewable energy. It will bring jobs to the North Coast."

Ms Purvis concluded by referring to the fact that climate change effects everyone and that there is a need for a long-term strategic plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and phasing out our reliance on coal.