Days out from the NSW election, neither major party has presented a comprehensive, credible plan for the protection of our environment, according to the state’s peak environment organisation.
“This election, voters have been short-changed by both major parties playing small target politics on the environment,” Nature Conservation Council of NSW CEO Pepe Clarke said.
“The Coalition and Labor have buried their heads in the sand on climate change. NSW can have a world-class clean, green economy if we take our fair share of action to avert catastrophic climate change rather than relying on the Federal government or other countries.
“Renewable base load power is now a commercially viable choice, using proven solar thermal technology. We need significant investment from the next NSW government to rapidly develop clean energy and deliver deep cuts in our carbon pollution.
“We welcome the Greens’ proposal to replace the state's seven coal-fired power stations within 25 years with clean energy as an important step towards a safe climate future. This bold initiative when complemented by incentives for greater energy efficiency would create hundreds of new jobs and significantly reduce emissions.
“In a State election campaign short on environmental vision from political leaders, the community has put coal and coal seam gas mining firmly on the election agenda.
“People from all walks of life have demanded government protection from the devastating impacts of mining on the environment, community health, agricultural land and water supplies. As a community we’ve already gained significant concessions from the major political parties and stand ready to keep them to their promises.
“The Coalition has committed a welcome $103 million over four years to the natural environment. However, this investment is inadequate to the scale of the challenge ahead for restoring our special places, protecting our waterways or ensuring the future of our threatened species.
“We’re concerned about whether Mr O’Farrell’s proposed ‘scientific review’ of marine parks can be delivered truly independent and free of partisan politics. Marine conservation should be based on the best available science and community input, not the opinions of vocal minority groups.
“The next NSW government has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reduce carbon pollution, invest in natural infrastructure and restore the environment to health,” Mr Clarke said.