Stokes flexes muscles on clean energy

Greens NSW MP John Kaye welcomed NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes' commitment to rooftop solar and energy efficiency projects for the government's own buildings and the promise of more rational noise regulation for wind farms.

('Renewable energy: NSW to be 'Australia's answer to California'', Sydney Morning Herald, 22 July 2014, http://j.mp/ren140722)

Dr Kaye said: "Clean energy investments will save the NSW government money in the long run and help sharpen the focus on the state's heavy dependence on coal and gas.

"However, the Liberals and Nationals are still sending mixed messages to businesses and households.

"On the one hand, the NSW Environment Minister is pushing government agencies to model responsible clean energy investment behaviour.

"At the same time, the Abbott government has dismantled the carbon price and is undermining the Renewable Energy Target.

"The signal is confused and ineffective.

Crushing police force was planned to end peaceful CSG blockade

Documents released to the NSW Greens under freedom of information laws have revealed that the NSW Police force was intending to deploy up to 800 police to crush the peaceful community blockade at a coal seam gas drilling site at Bentley in the State’s north.

Greens MP and Police Spokesperson David Shoebridge said,

“It is quite extraordinary that the NSW Government had advanced plans to deploy up to 800 police to crush the peaceful blockade at Bentley.

“The coal seam gas industry is so deeply unpopular that it requires overwhelming police force to be able to operate. Any accountable democratic government would take that as a sign the industry has no future.

“When a government plans to deliver this level of force against a law abiding regional community then it is only one step away from losing its legitimacy.

NSW Government must heed Federal warnings on ‘gambler’s addiction to roads’

Greens MP and NSW Spokesperson for Roads, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has commented on reports of a leaked Infrastructure Australia report that describes “hideously inefficient” spending on national roads. The NSW Government is wasting billions of dollars building the NorthConnex and WestConnex tollways.

Dr Faruqi said:

“The Roads Minister would do well to listen to Infrastructure Australia, who have long had questions about the WestConnex business case, and who are now saying that Australia has a ‘gambler’s addiction to roads’.

“This view confirms what the Greens have long been warning about, that this Government’s obsession with roads is ill-conceived.

“For many transport experts and communities, the description of road spending as an addiction rings true, especially as the government has been so secretive about the business case for the 13 billion dollar WestConnex tollway.

Greens kick off TAFE tour in the Illawarra

As the clock ticks down to the introduction of the Baird government's devastating changes to the vocational education and training sector, time is running out for local communities in the Illawarra and South Coast to have their say about the future of TAFE, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Dr Kaye will be meeting with teachers and their union representatives on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week to discuss the impacts of the Coalition's Smart and Skilled training market on local TAFE colleges and the ability of young people in the region to access affordable quality skills training.