They may not be known for their love of heavy industry, but two Illawarra Greens candidates yesterday took to the campaign trail to pledge their support for the region’s steel and coking coal companies.
Helen Wilson and Peter Moran joined forces to urge the voters of their respective Cunningham and Throsby electorates to change the ‘‘common misconception’’ that a vote for their party would shut down manufacturing jobs in the Illawarra.
‘‘We want to say that the Illawarra needs to think about a clean energy future and we think that involves maintaining the steelworks and boosting the steelworks,’’ Ms Wilson said.
‘‘We really want the steelworks to keep working, and we really want coking coal to keep being produced but we want them to change their orientation so they are producing renewable energy in a sustainable way.
‘‘Because in the long term, if that doesn’t happen, the steelworks here would close down.’’
Mr Moran said a cleaner steel industry was ‘‘the future’’.
‘‘The world needs steel and we have a competitive advantage here,’’ he said. ‘‘But the steel industry must be encouraged to operate as cleanly as possible.’’
Ms Wilson said they were concerned about both major parties’ plans to wind back programs to address global warming.
‘‘The [Gillard government’s] Clean Energy package has been very positive for our region and it’s essential that the programs continue,’’ she said. ‘‘We’ve seen some great initiatives towards a green economy here, but Labor wants to slow them down and the Coalition would probably demolish them all.’’