Not gas or coal, but renewable energy

Pip Hinman.

Pip Hinman, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW seat of Marrickville, spoke at a March 14 election forum at St Peters Town Hall organised by Climate Action Newtown and Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas.

Hinman’s responses to the three questions put to her at the meeting appear below.

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Will your party commit to not building any more coal or gas fired power stations in NSW?

We not only don’t support building new coal fired power stations; we call for their phasing out and for affected workers to be retrained to be able to take up green jobs in the renewable energy industry.

We welcome the Greens’ call for three new baseload solar-thermal power stations — to be funded by Green bonds — and that remain in public hands.

Australia could meet its basic energy needs from a combination of non-fossil fuel sources, especially solar thermal with storage and wind power. Biomass from agricultural wastes, tidal power and geothermal power “hot rocks” could also be used.

We also campaign for the enormous subsidies to the fossil fuel companies to be slashed.
Lastly, we do not think that gas is a “renewable” energy — or a “transition” fuel.

Will your party introduce rigorous coal seam gas (CSG) extraction regulations and standards to protect human, environmental, and economic health introduce a ban on all CSG exploration until then?

The Socialist Alliance calls for a moratorium on all CSG mining until adequate public consultation and testing has been done.

There are promising signs that a campaign against CSG is growing. Communities across NSW and Queensland are getting organised, and with the help of Lock the Gate Alliance are challenging the government-industry power over their lives and livelihoods.

The Socialist Alliance also calls for a ban on all CSG mining under cities, water catchment areas, farmland and other environmentally significant areas.

We want fracking to be banned: it’s not good enough to hear the industry say “it’s safe” — and not to have to reveal the toxic compounds that they are using to extract the gas nor deal with the toxic waterproduced by the fracking process.

Does your party support a re-instatement of the NSW feed-in tariff to a viable level? Economic reports indicate this is 40-45c per kilowatt hour.

The answer is yes.

We support measures that encourage people to move to sustainable, use less energy and cut down on waste.

The 40-45c/kwh would be a good incentive for households to install solar panels. But the scheme relies on households having the money up front to make the installation — thereby limiting itself to that sector that can afford it.

Positive examples can help change people’s minds — but for real action on climate change, we need to look at the sort of energy that industry is relying on.

The feed-in-tariff needs to benefit generator-scale energy, not just solar panels on household roofs. We’d support a national feed-in tariff for large-scale baseload solar.

We need to look at renewables on a huge scale to make a dint in carbon emissions. But feed-in tariffs for household use are just not enough.


Absolutely, we need to wean off fossil fuels. There are renewable energy proposals like Beyond Zero Emisssions currently being discussed in communities. These proposals can be implemented fully costed and fully engineered using present technologies. The quicker plants are producing clean energy people will realise freeing ourselves from fossil fuel dependence is simply a matter of will within reach. I fully support the Greens efforts to get running three baseload plants that employ solar and thermal energies. The 21st Century is post fossil fuels. We just have to move with the times. David Butler