The Socialist Alliance is campaigning for urgent action to address the environmental catastrophe in NSW caused by drought and decades of bad management.
"The only way to avoid this disaster is to implement an emergency program to achieve sustainability in energy, water, biodiversity and land management, and to reduce pollution and greenhouse emissions", spokesperson Susan Price told Green Left Weekly.
"We do not support new coalmines, or coal-fired power stations — 'clean' or otherwise — as coal accounts for 30% of Australia's greenhouse emissions.
"The proposed Anvil Hill coalmine in the Hunter would generate more than 27 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. Clearly, this is no solution."
The Socialist Alliance, which is running in the NSW elections, is campaigning for the complete phase out of coal-powered energy, and for the construction of a renewable energy infrastructure, which could create many new jobs. It is also calling for subsidies to be given for domestic solar heating and electricity.
"The NSW government should also be establishing an industry-funded 10% renewable energy target by 2010", Price said. "We think the privatisation of energy and electricity industries should stop and that they should be placed back into public hands."
Jobs are important, Price continued, but they are being lost anyway in the mining sector as it is restructured to meet the profit targets of big business. "With a plan to tackle the greenhouse problem, thousands of new jobs could be generated in the renewable energy sector."
The subsides presently being handed out to mining bosses should be redeployed to the renewable energy sector and for retraining, Price added. "We support the idea that industry clean up its own mess, but we don't think that carbon taxes, which will hit working people hard, are the solution."
As for nuclear power, Price said that NSW Labor should be urging its federal counterparts to scrap its pro-uranium mining policy — completely ending all mining and exports — instead of considering an expansion upwards from three mines.
[For more information on the Socialist Alliance visit http://www.socialist-alliance.org. Susan Price is standing for the Socialist Alliance in the NSW Legislative Council elections.]