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Greens Plan to Invest in our Environment and make us the Jewel in the Crown of NSW

MEDIA RELEASE 13th March 2019: Sue Higginson, the Greens Candidate for Lismore and Greens MP and Environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann have released a $4 billion plan to protect and enhance our natural environment, following decades of mismanagement that have plundered our public native forests, rivers, native wildlife and remnant native vegetation. Here in our region koalas are on the brink of extinction, our river systems are sick and our native vegetation and soils need to be managed better.

Ms Higginson said, “Under our plan we will see an overhaul of our inadequate environmental protection laws and the introduction of a 1% Environmental Levy on statewide construction work worth more than $1 million. This will create an estimated $500 million a year to put back into the environment.”

The Plan includes:

  • $1.5 billion for a Land and Biodiversity Fund to protect our native vegetation.
  • $2 billion for an expansion of protected areas and to end public native forest logging
  • $300 million for cultural management of country under Aboriginal Ranger programs.
  • $200 million to tackle weeds, feral animals and other invasive species.

“The upcoming NSW State election is the turning point for the stewardship of our lands,” Ms Higginson said. “Land clearing in NSW has tripled under the Liberal/National Government. This is not good for our wildlife, water, agricultural productivity, regional economy and it’s certainly not helping us address the challenges we face under a changing climate. Here in our region we need to manage our environment for long term landscape health, resilience and production, not short term unsustainable profits.  

“It’s time to properly fund the management of our valuable reserve lands and assist landholders to manage their native vegetation, because it benefits us all.”

“Getting environmental management right here in the Northern Rivers and developing our clean green environmental brand will be the key boost to our local and regional economies. We boast one of the most beautiful and biodiverse regions in the Country. We could be the jewel in the crown of NSW if we get our environmental management right.

“It is time to end the unsustainable and costly logging of our public native forests. The evidence is that managing our public forest estate for water yields, carbon storage, recreation, tourism, education, culture and wildlife habitats will provide more important economic returns than the mere value timber from logging provides.

“This initiative is in addition to our announcement in January to fund the Githabul Rangers Forest Recovery Initiative and our Revive the Richmond River Plan, which pledged $200 million over 10 years. The objective of that Plan is to have a Richmond River Commissioner oversee river recovery for all its maritime, fishing, agricultural, cultural and recreational purposes.

Looking after and investing in the environment is necessary for our region’s industries, brand and our community’s health and well being, and it creates jobs.  

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Greens will call for repeal and reform of Roadside Drug Testing, announce $100k for voluntary breath testing and drink driving education at festivals and events

NSW Greens MP and spokesperson on drug law reform Cate Faehrmann has today declared the current roadside drug testing regime in NSW has nothing to do with improving road safety and is simply an extension of the failed war on drugs.  Along with Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, and Greens candidate for Lismore, Sue Higginson, she has called for an end to roadside drug testing until an evidence based roadside drug testing programme is introduced that actually tests for impairment, rather than simply presence of drugs.  This announcement is in contrast to the National Party who have announced a doubling of mobile drug testing.

Data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reveals that NSW Police are disproportionately targeting the Northern Rivers with the rate of drug driving convictions in the Richmond – Tweed area the highest in the state, at 470 per 100,000 population – more than five times the NSW average of 92.9. The Greens call to repeal and reform roadside drug testing does not apply to roadside breath testing for alcohol which is evidence-based and effective.

The Greens will also announce support for $100,000 per year in additional government funding in the Northern Rivers to reduce drink driving associated with festivals and events.  The funding would be used to support:

  • the mandatory provision of free breathalysers at all festivals and large events
  • peer-to-peer drink driving education, and
  • youth spaces such as chill out zones at festivals & events with patrons under 18

The Greens will hold a press conference on this issue today from 12pm midday in Mullumbimby with community activists:

NSW Greens MP and spokesperson on drug law reform Cate Faehrmann said:

Roadside drug testing in NSW is arbitrary and unreliable.  The regime in NSW has nothing to do with improving road safety and is simply an extension of the failed war on drugs.

“We know that drugs like marijuana will stay in people’s system for days, or even weeks, after consumption.  This means drivers are being convicted despite no evidence of impairment or threat to road safety.

“That is why the Greens are calling for an end to roadside drug testing until an evidence based roadside drug testing programme is introduced that actually tests for impairment, rather than simply presence of drugs.”

Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith said:

“Whilst the Greens support evidenced-based policing that detects and targets drug-impaired drivers on the road, in NSW we have a system that targets drivers who may not actually be impaired. ““The war on drugs in NSW has been extended to roadside drug testing where the mere presence of a drug rather than an impairment test is being used to arrest drug users who may have imbibed weeks before the test but the substance is still in their system. ““The question needs to be asked – Is a driver who has smoked a joint a week ago an impaired driver? Let’s use the science to find out the answer and then communicate that to the public so that they can make informed choices about driving and ingesting drugs and alcohol. “

Greens candidate for Lismore Sue Higginson said:

“The current regime is having perverse consequences here in our region. It is unfairly wrecking people’s lives, clogging up our courts, costing enormous amounts of money and wasting police resources.

“It’s time to acknowledge it’s not working and put the regime on hold until we have developed a mechanism for impairment testing that would actually achieve the purpose of a sound RDT regime, namely to make our roads safer.”

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GREENS CANDIDATE LEADS THE CHARGE FOR THE STATE’S MOST MARGINAL SEAT – ON HORSEBACK

MONDAY, MARCH 11: Mounted on horseback, Sue Higginson, the Greens Candidate for Lismore, rode through Lismore this morning with Inverell farmer Glenn Morris, who infamously stopped traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge twelve months ago, to raise awareness of climate change and the need for strong environmental protection laws.

At the opening of early polling, Ms Higginson and Glenn Morris led a procession of electric vehicles, bikes and people power along Molesworth St to drive the message home that this State Election is a referendum on climate change, clean energy, the environment and communities.

After dismounting from her well-trained stock horse, Ms Higginson told a crowd of supporters that she was leading the procession to focus on the most important issues before us.

“As early voting opens, we have to talk about what this election is really about. We know it’s the first election since the IPCC released its report in October, telling us that this is a critical time to make our future a positive story for the next mob, and the one after that. Today displayed, right here in Lismore, that climate change and healthy communities are defining issues of this election. This election is a referendum on what steps we take to move into our safe climate future. Everybody knows that the whole of NSW is looking at this seat. It’s one of the most marginal seats in the state and it is one the Greens can win. We’ve got work to do to make sure that the necessary change happens to ensure our region has a safe, thriving future”.

Since June last year Ms Higginson’s campaign has been setting the agenda on climate change and the environment, forcing the major parties to put their own plans on the table. The Greens plan to revive the dying Richmond River, protect our koala habitat and fight for healthy communities has led the agenda on the election campaign for this hotly contested seat.

“We rode two beautiful horses in a cavalcade of sustainable electric cars and bikes through the CBD, to highlight our intention to introduce a bright, sustainable future for our region,” said Ms Higginson.

“This is about doing politics differently, reclaiming our democracy and most importantly calling you, the voter, to vote for positive change.”

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Greens promise to tackle alarming increase of domestic violence rates in Lismore for International Women’s Day

MEDIA RELEASE Friday, March 8, 2019: On International Women’s Day, we honour women’s strength and resilience and celebrate how far we have come. However, alarming crime statistics released this week indicate we have a long way to go when it comes to addressing violence against women in this region.

According to Bureau of Crime Statistics (BOSCAR) figures, there has been a staggering 24.6% increase in domestic assault incidents in 2018 compared to 2017 in the Lismore area.

Lismore Greens candidate Sue Higginson, said, “This is a hard truth that we cannot ignore – especially today.”

“The incidents of domestic violence in the Lismore area is 29% higher than the state average. We know that crisis response services are unable to meet demand in this area.

“In this country, domestic violence is the number one cause of homelessness. Our region’s rising levels of domestic violence coupled with the current housing crisis is a recipe for disaster. It is a regional emergency that I will prioritise if elected.

“One woman is killed every week in Australia by a current or former partner. Yet violence against women is preventable, and gender equality is the core of the solution, along with funding our vital frontline services,” she said.

Today, The Greens announced their policy initiative to end violence against women and eliminate gender inequality. The Greens plan will provide:

• A broad program for gender equality. Primary prevention to challenge the deeply ingrained attitudes, social norms and gender inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women.

• A holistic whole-of-government approach to tackling family violence. Implement all 49 ‘Safe State’ recommendations of the NSW Women’s Alliance

• Immediate and ongoing support for those experiencing violence. Provide an additional $30 million per year for specialist women’s legal services and Community Legal Centres. Double federal funding to $500m/year and double NSW’s commitment to match it.

• Specialist services for women from different backgrounds. Provide $310 million over four years for specialist domestic and family violence services – including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and CALD women and children, LGBTIQ people and children, and women and children with disability – and state-wide crisis services.

Greens make pledge to put an end to DV crisis

The Greens are serious about pushing legislative changes in parliament to improve the lives of women in NSW and to put an end to the domestic violence crisis

Before the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November 2019, the Greens pledge to do the following:

  1. Reintroduce a bill to decriminalise abortion by removing Division 12 of the NSW Crimes Act 1900.
  2. Introduce a bill to amend the definition of consent in section 61HA of the Crimes Act to require active, affirmative and ongoing sexual consent.
  3. Put a motion calling on the NSW government to join Our Watch to support the evidence-based framework driving nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and power imbalances that lead to family violence.
  4. Introduce a bill to repeal the forced adoption laws introduced by the Berejiklian government at the end of 2018.
  5. Move to establish a Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence Committee to oversee the implementation of the NSW Women’s Alliance’s Safe State recommendations.

Ms Higginson said, “The Greens know that the best way to stop violence is before it occurs, so our policy initiative includes a broad program for gender equality.

“Gender equality should involve everyone. It should mean more women in Parliament. It should be addressed across business, civil society and communities, which is why local community events such as today’s Rally for IWD at The Quad in Lismore, are so important,” Ms Higginsons said.

This local rally is a time for all those fighting for women’s rights to come together to celebrate our victories, to agitate for changes in the spheres of political and legal rights; equal opportunities; sexual autonomy; and the right to self-determination; and to gain inspiration from our sisters all over the world who gather on this day advocating for the rights of women.

Join me at The Lismore Women’s Rally for IWD from midday to 2pm at The Quad.

View The Greens full policy initiative here

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Greens commit to deliver the Public Transport needs of the Northern Rivers

MEDIA RELEASE Thursday, March 7 2019:  Greens Candidate for Lismore, Sue Higginson, will steer us out of the division imposed on our communities over the future use of the rail corridor.

Ms Higginson said, “The National Liberals have failed to take concrete steps to fix the Northern Rivers’ transport mess left by Labor’s short-sighted decision to abandon our railway line. In the past 12 months, I have received numerous representations, petitions and pleas from members of the community advocating to get a train of sorts back on our tracks and those who would prefer the rail corridor converted into a rail trail.”

“All advocates of train and trail make great cases and points of which I agree with. We should have a fully functional public transport system that connects us and the places we need to be and that brings our coastal visitors to our heart. We should have beautiful bike paths and scenic trails where those who love to walk and ride, wherever they come from, can do so.”  

“It is clear that some of our political representatives across our region have chosen to back a particular side while we have been left to fight each other over the best use of the rail corridor. Meanwhile, the present and future public transport needs of our region are out of focus and unknown.”

“There are various reports out there, but they do not present the necessary evidence needed to make proper decisions about such a serious matter.”

Ms Higginson says “I will ensure funding for an immediate detailed feasibility study to create an integrated Public Transport Plan that extends to Tweed Heads, to connect our Lismore-Casino line and enable all the people in between to travel to Brisbane.”

“Our plan will take advantage of new technologies such as electric shuttle buses and light rail. It would extend at least to Tweed Heads, connect to our Lismore-Casino line and enable all the people in between to travel to Brisbane.”

 “It has been long overdue, but new technologies are here to revolutionise how we do public transport in this region. It is time to embrace emerging technologies and improve the accessibility, opportunities and quality of life for the people of this region,” she said.

The Greens Integrated Public Transport Plan will:

1.       Develop a comprehensive Public Transport System across and beyond the Northern Rivers, to improve the movement of our communities and our touring visitors through our Region.

2.       Build the Public Transport System on principles of accessibility, safety, affordability, efficiency, sustainability and tourism opportunity and including trains, light rail, electric buses, car sharing, cycleways and walkways.

3.       Retain land currently designated as Rail Corridor as public land for the purpose of the Public Transport System.

4.       Retain existing rail tracks and rail infrastructure in situ until the Public Transport System is designed, approved and funded.

5.      Promote the Rail Corridor as the key link between villages that then offer settlement options including affordable housing.  

Ms Higginson said, “Any transport system in the Northern Rivers must be connected to the Gold Coast light rail link to the north and the existing heavy rail network at Casino. The nature of that link will be decided by an independent feasibility study taking into account all the variables of sustainability, growing population and tourism, and our future transport needs.”

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PowerNSW: NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge and Lismore Candidate announce statewide energy plan to rewire the future

MEDIA RELEASE 4th March 2019: Greens NSW Upper House Member David Shoebridge MP and Candidate for Lismore Sue Higginson will launch the Greens 100% renewable energy action plan on Tuesday, March 5 at the Rotunda in Spinks Park, Lismore at 1pm.

Sue Higginson said “Our action plan is the game changer that everyone has been waiting for.”

“Under our plan, PowerNSW, a publicly owned 100% renewable electricity power supplier and retailer will be fully operational by 2030,” said Ms Higginson. “It’s designed around a $5 billion Regional Clean Infrastructure Investment that will fund four regional energy hubs to distribute affordable electricity in the Murray-Riverina, Northern NSW Tablelands, Central West NSW and Broken Hill.”

Mr Shoebridge said, “PowerNSW will create an entirely new set of publicly-owned renewable electricity assets state-wide. It will remove the hegemony of corporations holding our political system to ransom and save NSW consumers more than $200 a year on average.

“This is the business end of the Greens Roadmap to 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 – a $1.25 billion plan to drive the uptake of household solar in the state, including for the hundreds of thousands of consumers traditionally locked out of the solar self-generation market.” Mr Shoebridge said.

“Under our plan, 350,000 new households are expected to be built in NSW over the next four years. This means they’ll have, at minimum, 5kW of solar PV and 4.5kWh of battery storage – or be able to contribute to a registered community renewable energy provider.”

“All new apartments and other attached dwellings would also be required to install at least 3kW of solar system per household, or pay $2000 to a registered community renewable energy provider.”

“The Greens’ plan will offer a $2,000 rebate for solar and batteries for up to 500,000 existing households with a weekly income of up to $3000/week. Our plan lays out the much needed path forward.”

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Clean Up Australia Day Lismore event: Greens candidate calls for major parties in NSW to phase out all single-use plastics

MEDIA RELEASE 3rd March 2019: Today, the Lismore community will join thousands of Australians across the country to clean our beaches, river banks and bushland as part of Clean Up Australia Day.

NSW Greens candidate for Lismore, Sue Higginson, will be announcing the Greens Plan for a Plastic Free Sea that calls for a statewide phase out on all single use plastics by 2023 and is calling on the major parties in NSW to hear the concerns of the community and take immediate action to regulate single-use plastics out of existence.

The Greens Plan for a Plastic Free Sea will:

  • Phase out all all single use plastics by 2023
  • Phase out plastic bags, straws, polystyrene containers and microbeads immediately
  • Reduce plastic entering the environment by 90% by 2020 through legislated targets.
  • Establish a NSW Waste Commissioner
  • Require all packaging used in NSW will be ‘recyclable, compostable or reusable’ by 2023
  • Re-invest the $2.1 billion NSW Waste and Environment Levy into fixing our waste crisis

The call follows a decision last year by the European Union to phase out single-use plastics by 2021 and a recommendation from a Senate inquiry that Commonwealth and State Governments work to phase out petroleum-based single-use plastics by 2023.

NSW Greens candidate for Lismore, Sue Higginson, said, “Plastic pollution in the ocean is choking and killing marine life and contaminating the food chain. We have to turn off the plastic tap.

“It’s time NSW got behind the community driven war on waste and got on board with the global shift away from single-use plastics.  


“The Greens are putting forward a plan to phase out single-use plastics by 2023 and to take immediate action to phase out plastics bags, polystyrene food and drink containers, plastic straws and microbeads.

“NSW is already a laggard when it comes to plastic bags. We cannot afford to sit idly when the rest of the world is moving away from single-use plastics. The community is calling for strong action in NSW but neither major parties are showing any leadership when it comes to reducing the scourge of plastics in our marine environment.

“With scientists estimating there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, we need a phase out on single-use plastics. This should be an election issue but the major parties are ignoring the community and hoping issue of plastics will go out with the tide.”
See Greens Plan for a Plastic Free Sea. This is part of the Greens ‘Towards Zero Waste Plan’ of which further details will be announced.

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Greens Leader Richard Di Natale and Candidate for Lismore Sue Higginson Launch: Our Food and Fibre Future Plan

MEDIA RELEASE 27th February 2019: Sue Higginson, Greens candidate for Lismore is joined today by Richard Di Natale, leader of the Australian Greens, in Lismore to release their Our Food and Fibre Future Plan for the North East NSW. The Plan guarantees political, financial and logistical support for farming and ecosystem expertise to grow our region’s agricultural sector.

The Plan will be launched at the Greens Campaign Office at 154 Molesworth Street, Lismore at 2.30pm today.  

Ms Higginson said “Our region is a place like no other. With good rainfall, fertile soils and our green brand and image we are positioned to lead the way in NSW as a sustainable food and fibre hub.”

As a local farmer I am passionate and driven about our region’s agricultural future. We have all the right conditions to become a sustainable agricultural hub that leads the way in innovative solutions to our climate change crisis and the challenges that modern agriculture faces in a fast changing world,” said Ms Higginson.

“The National Party is not driving our agricultural agenda in the right direction and we need to change this urgently. Here in our region the Nationals were willing to throw us under invasive coal seam gas fields and around the State they are throwing farmers under massive coal mines and prioritising corporate agribusiness, which is breaking the back of farmers across our nation.”

“Family farms are the backbone of sustainable agriculture because they are more adaptable and diverse. Our current Governments are not investing in transitioning our essential agricultural sector to sustainable and regenerative food and fibre production. Farmers are at the forefront of the impacts of climate change and we need support to build resilience in our sector so we can adapt and continue to produce. If we don’t get smart and get behind our region’s farmers we are going to miss out.”

“Our Plan commits to working with farmers to adapt and innovate our agricultural sector to meet the modern challenges we face. We will provide $120 million in low interest loans for young farmers, establish a local food fund and brand and ensure proper pricing for farm gate produce. We will protect our vital water resources and our prime agricultural land from mining and unsustainable developments.”

“Importantly, we will provide support for emerging low input agricultural industries suited to this region such as hemp, dryland rice and other high quality high value crops and horticulture.”  

“We’ve identified appropriate mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions, improve soil fertility and mitigate against the health risks of modern chemicals that have been released into our environment. We will support indigenous businesses marketing products indigenous to our unique region. And we will introduce a local first procurement policy for all government contracts in our region.”

“Our biosecurity measures will future-proof our region against invasive weeds and we will establish meaningful political oversight over our food security and agricultural sustainability. We have a commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles in our region and above all, creating real employment opportunities in a growth industry – North Eastern NSW agriculture.”

“We have seen what years of mismanagement has done to farming along the Murray Darling, we have an opportunity here in the Northern Rivers to farm right, into the future”.

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The Greens NSW call on the NSW Government to urgently act to protect the Koala

MEDIA RELEASE 25th February 2019: The Greens have today called on the government to respond to the crisis affecting Koala numbers in the state by agreeing to create a ‘Great Koala National Park’ in Northern NSW to protect the species from the threats posed by logging, urban expansion and climate change.

“There is clear and present danger for this wonderful creature, a national icon, and again when it comes to protecting the environment this government is missing in action,” Greens MP Dawn Walker said.

Last week the president of World Wildlife Fund International (WWF) wrote to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian demanding immediate action to save the nation’s forests and koalas.

He made clear to both governments that koalas are facing a crisis like that suffered by orangutans.

“Koalas are recognised around the world as a vital part of Australia’s environmental and cultural landscape,” she said.

“Estimates are that koala numbers have declined by 50% over the last 20 years.

“The actions of this Government have placed this beloved animal at immediate risk, primarily through continued logging of native forests and urban expansion.

“Shockingly, koala populations have halved on the NSW North Coast over the last 20 years.

“Establishing a Great Koala National Park near Coffs Harbour will help ensure the survival of one of NSW’s most important koala populations and greatly invigorate our local economy,” Jonathan Cassell, Greens Candidate for Coffs Harbour said.

“The people of the region have made it clear that protecting this creature is one of their key concerns and it will put Coffs Harbour on the international map,” he said.

The Great Koala National Park would see 175,000ha of State Forest added to existing protected areas to form a 315,000ha reserve in the Coffs Harbour region.

The Great Koala National Park will also protect hundreds of forests species and preserve extensive areas of tall eucalypt forest from destructive logging where 20% of NSW’s wild koalas live.

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PowerNSW: Greens announce ambitious statewide energy plan to rewire the future

MEDIA RELEASE 19th February 2109: The Greens have announced their ambitious plan for a publicly-owned 100% renewable energy supplier and retailer, PowerNSW, and the creation of regional renewable energy hubs across the State to tackle climate change and electricity prices.

Greens candidate for Lismore, Ms Sue Higginson said “PowerNSW is a game changer and will put power back in the hands of the public and will build, distribute and retail affordable and publicly owned renewable energy across NSW”.

“Unlike the major corporate energy players who maximise profits and damage the environment, PowerNSW will deliver cheap, reliable and renewable power for everyone.

“PowerNSW will build a 100% renewable energy supply for NSW by 2030 by commissioning one gigawatt of low cost, public renewable energy every year.”

“I was very pleased to see that NSW Labor has finally come some of the way on supporting a publicly owned energy company in line with our long standing Greens policy. However the Labor plan fails on the big ticket items of a publicly owned retailer and will not produce the lowest cost, large scale renewable projects that are needed.”

“Let’s not forget that Labor along with the Coalition are still captured by fossil fuel interests and have no clear commitment to end coal”.

“Under our plan, PowerNSW will construct four regional renewable hubs as part of a $5 billion Regional Clean Infrastructure investment to deliver jobs and tackle climate change.

“The renewable energy hubs are based on the State’s extraordinary renewable energy assets, in the Murray-Riverina region, Northern NSW Tablelands, Central West NSW and Broken Hill.

“Each renewable energy hub will see targeted investment in new network capacity to help deliver renewable energy to the grid and build jobs in regional communities.

“PowerNSW will be a gamechanger in the retail energy market. With a growing pool of publicly owned renewable energy assets, it will provide the lowest cost and cleanest renewable energy that is 100% reliable, 100% renewable and 100% affordable.

“PowerNSW will save NSW households an average of more than $200 a year on electricity prices every year by stripping out the profits and advertising that inflates the corporate pricing.

At a time when the average household in the broken National Electricity Market pays close to 20% of

their bill – in retail costs and profits a year, it is essential we have a public retailer to drive down prices.

“With climate change biting so hard, and households being gouged by a broken privatised electricity market, PowerNSW can lead NSW to a bright energy future powered by 100% clean, green and publicly owned renewable energy”.

“We have to rebuild the energy system in this state, every voter we are speaking with has made it clear that energy prices, climate change and protecting our environment are their overriding key concerns.” Ms Higginson said.

The detailed policy announcement contains a range of measures:

  • A commitment to help transition the state to 100% renewables by 2030 by building 1 gigawatt of public renewable energy each year.
  • $15 million allocated to the establishment of PowerNSW.
  • Strategic investment in new renewable energy projects, strengthening the NSW power grid and large-scale energy storage projects.
  • Run competitive tenders tenders to award contracts for the construction of the lowest cost renewable energy projects in NSW, including wind and solar.
  • Just transitions: the plan would create up to 4,000 new long-term jobs for NSW workers, in construction, maintenance and operation and provide opportunities for those impacted by the impending closure of NSW’s ageing fleet of coal fired power stations to transition to the clean energy jobs of the future.
  • $5 billion committed to the Regional Clean Infrastructure Fund, which will establish these four regional hubs.