|Posted by David on January 30, 2014 at 5:05 AM|
Local residents and environmentalists packed the Byron Bay Community Centre’s SCU room on Thursday evening to hear Shadow Environment Minister Mark Butler MP and The Wilderness Society’s National Campaign Director Lyndon Schneiders discuss the challenges facing our environment at a community event organised by the Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN) North Coast.
Hosted by LEAN North Coast Organiser Asren Pugh, the event covered a range of topics, including the Abbott Government’s climate policy, Labor’s position on carbon pricing and renewable energy and the problems the previous Labor Government faced in selling its environment message.
Labor MP Mark Butler assured the audience that Federal Labor would continue to support the carbon pricing scheme in the face of the Abbott Government’s attacks. He stated that in its first year of operation alone, carbon emissions had reduced by 7% and the renewable energy sector grew by 25%.
Questions from the crowd included concerns over the WA Government’s controversial shark culling, what action Labor will take to further its climate policy, how it will rebuild its trust with the electorate and the dredging of the Great Barrier Reef at places such as Abbot Point.
Mr. Pugh stated that LEAN will be pressuring Federal Labor to take a no-dredging policy to the next election.
Lyndon Schneiders spoke about the expansion of The Wilderness Society’s focus to include campiagning against fossil fuels and the immense pressure facing governments over making big decisions on climate change.
He noted that climate policy had been the demise of several world leaders, including in Australia Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd and arguably Julia Gillard. Public opinion would have to shift, he said, to ensure that climate change policy no longer became such a damaging issue.
Speaking of the last election campaign, Mr. Butler said that locally, Labor had run a strong campaign with MPs Justine Elliot and Janelle Saffin over CSG mining and Labor would continue to fight locally. He mentioned the water-trigger legislation as a key part of Labor’s environmental protection achievements.
CSG is another issue over which LEAN will be pressuring Federal Labor in the lead-up to the next election.