Climate Group Asks Pat Conaghan For Answers

Coffs Coast Climate Action Group members outside Mr Conaghan’s Office. Photo: supplied by the Coffs Coast Climate Action Group.

 

COFFS Coast Climate Action Group members visited the office of the Federal Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan, last Friday.

The brightly-dressed group wished to ask Mr Conaghan why he was yet to fulfill his promise to reply to a letter signed by around 80 local businesses, community groups, churches and health professionals.

The open letter, which made front page news in December, outlined a positive vision for building Coffs’ future with jobs in renewable energy and other low emissions industries.

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The signatories proposed the creation of secure, substantial jobs in climate-positive industries, the building of community resilience to future crises, investment in social security and public services so that no one is left behind, support for First Nations justice and self-determination and the charting of a course toward zero emissions.

“We’re dressed in yellow to symbolise the brighter future which is possible if we rebuild our economy with climate-friendly industries,” explained Liisa Rusanen, spokesperson for the Coffs Coast Climate Action Group.

“Research shows we could create over one million secure, decent jobs in industries like renewable energy, land regeneration and building social housing, addressing climate change and looking after our community at the same time.”

Mr Conaghan had met previously with some of the letter signatories, but, despite the group sending several letters to him, and Mr Conaghan having made a commitment to provide a detailed, written response by March 8, no reply has been forthcoming.

“When Mr Conaghan ran for election, he said his focus would be on job creation, but now that his constituents have presented him with a positive vision for clean jobs, he has not even bothered to reply,” said Ms Rusanen.

“In fact, Mr Conaghan is backing the Government’s push to hand taxpayers’ dollars to the gas industry, which actually would create the least amount of jobs, compared to investment in almost any other industry,” she said.

“Gas is a dirty fossil fuel, which makes climate extremes worse, like floods, drought and fires.”

“As the globe shifts towards renewables and zero emissions, energy and finance experts are also talking about the economic risks of relying on gas,” Ms Rusanen said.

“We’ll keep reminding Mr Conaghan for as long as is necessary, until he joins the call to build a brighter, renewable-powered future.”

A spokesperson for Mr Conaghan said that he supports sensible investment into renewables and has met with the Climate Action Group on three previous occasions.

The original community open letter can be found at www.coffsclimateaction.weebly.com/build-our-future.

 

By Andrew VIVIAN

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