Socialist Alliance NSW Senate candidate Joel McAlear, who grew up in a working-class family in the Illawarra, said the new gas hub slated for Port Kembla is a step in the wrong direction.
“How can anyone seriously argue that it makes sense to build an import terminal to bring in liquified gas — a fossil fuel — from overseas and re-gasify it here?”, McAlear asked.
The $250 million gas import terminal is being promoted as the solution to the state’s gas needs and a jobs provider for the region.
But McAlear believes it is “no solution for employment nor for our future energy needs.
“It ignores the climate science and helps the gas corporations make even greater profits when they are already making a motza.”
As a community worker, McAlear is also concerned about youth unemployment in the Illawarra, one of the highest in the country.
“We need more jobs; but they need to be long-term and they need to be sustainable.
“Many young people — myself included — have never known secure work. As work has shifted from industry to services, the rate of precarious work has increased.
“On top of this, there have been continuous cuts to TAFE.
“We could resuscitate the manufacturing industry with new jobs in the renewable energy industry, given the abundance of sun and wind, if there was the political will.
“What stands in the way of climate solutions are the major parties’ close ties to the fossil fuel industry.
“We need representatives who are not climate deniers and who will work for an immediate shift to renewables over the next 10 years.
“The Coalition has its head in the sand and Labor thinks that gas, not renewables, are our energy future. Both are wrong.
“We now find ourselves in the middle of an emergency.
“The Socialist Alliance has a clear vision and concrete solutions to these problems. We need an alternative, and it’s time that alternative became a reality”, McAlear concluded.
[Click here for more information on the Socialist Alliance’s campaign.]