Mining under Illawarra’s water catchments will be phased out in 10 years if the Greens get their way.
That is one of the policies Illawarra Greens candidates will be campaigning for in the lead up to the next state and federal elections.
The branch announced their candidates on Wednesday. They are Kaye Osborn for the state seat of Keira, Rowan Huxtable for the federal seat of Cunningham, Benjamin Arcioni for the state seat of Wollongong, Mitchell Shakespeare for the state seat of Heathcote and Jamie Dixon for Wollongong Ward 3 byelection, the state seat of Shellharbour, and the federal seat of Whitlam.
Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi announced the “diverse team” of an industrial engineer, two university professionals, an economics student and a shearer, who hope to fly the flag for the Greens in Parliament.
“We have an incredible team of candidates here and I know each one of them will be standing up for the Illawarra,” Ms Faruqi said. “For too long corporate interests and corporate money have too much influence over how decisions are made, while the community misses out.”
Candidates will campaign for action on climate change, well-resourced public education, a better public transport system, economic equality for all and will fight against corporate influence,
Ms Osborn said she wanted to see all levels of government create a sensible policy to tackle climate change.
“The Illawarra Greens want to phase out mining that affects the water catchment over 10 years,” she said. “We have to find a just transition for people who work in the mining industry into more sustainable industries.
“Metallurgical coal supplies BlueScope Steel but it does not have to come from under water catchments. Other sources need to be considered.
“Long wall mining cracks and damages the surface and can drain the water from creeks.
“It is not sustainable to keep mining in this way.”
Mr Huxtable also wants to see the government act on advice about climate change from scientific experts and believes the government can work with the BlueScope Steel to create a sustainable energy source.
“The environment and mining industries have to work together,” he said. “We can’t carry on burning fossil fuels and we need to make changes.”
Mr Dixon said he would use his council, state and federal candidacy to strengthen his Green campaign.
“If I am elected to the council then I would like to continue to campaign for the state seat so I can keep the messages consistent and continue to advocate for Greens policies,” he said.
Mr Dixon wants to deliver affordable housing in Wollongong, sufficient public education in new development and more funding for healthcare services.
“I believe the amount of travel I have done and that I talk to different people makes me a good candidate,” he said. “Politicians are great talkers but I like to think I am a great listener.”
Mr Hutchinson said his area of interest was bringing attention to the level of influence money has on politics.
“My goal during the campaign is to ask as many people as possible what they would spend $100 million on because that is how much has been donated to the two major parties since 2012,” he said.
Mr Arcioni said he would focus on campaigning for better public transport for Wollongong and Dapto.
“More train and bus services are needed and we need to think about expanding the Wollongong shuttle bus model,” he said.
The candidates will be door-knocking and manning market stalls to talk to residents ahead of the election.