Claims the Labor Party no longer represents ordinary workers is "hogwash" according to Whitlam MP Stephen Jones.
Wollongong protesters for the Tomorrow Movement spoke outside Mr Jones' office on Tuesday, demanding Labor commit to a "climate and jobs guarantee".
"We want to have a future we can look forward to," spokesperson Maneesha Todd said.
"We can't afford to wait any longer for urgent action on the climate crisis; we want to take back democracy from big business and fight for a future that works for everyone.
"In the Illawarra that might look like investing in the renewable energy industry, and making the region a hub for renewables manufacturing, as well as investing in jobs caring for children and the elderly."
Ms Todd slammed Labor's carbon emissions policy platform released in February this year.
Labor has committed to an emissions target of net zero by 2050, however, will rely on gas in the interim.
She also said the party no longer acted in the interests of workers, but in the interests of big business.
"We want Labor to be the party they could be and stand with us," she said.
Mr Jones admitted gas was part of Labor's energy plans, but was adamant the party remained committed to standing up for workers.
"This broader criticism doesn't stand up to the most superficial scrutiny, it's hogwash," he said.
"Gas is a simple fact. If you decommission a coal-fired power station today and rely on more intermittent energy you need other fuel in the system to generate electricity to meet peaks and troughs.
"In NSW and Victoria that's not coal seam gas, in Queensland a significant amount of gas has been coal seam gas. It won't be part of the system in 50 years time but will be over the next two decades, and maybe the transition will be quicker."
Mr Jones said he largely agreed with the protesters' concerns, and would arrange to meet with them in person.
"I rarely get a protest down this way, and I applaud the fact they are motivated to get out and show their passion."
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