Young activists take on Newcastle council

In one of the youngest local government election tickets ever, the Socialist Alliance is standing Laura Ealing, 21, Tom Cameron, 19, and Zane Alcorn, 24, for ward 3 in the upcoming Newcastle council elections.

The three candidates are campaigning for a shift to a low CO2 emissions future for Newcastle that guarantees jobs and protects communities. Their plan includes a massive expansion of free and frequent public transport by extending the city's fare-free zone to the rest of Newcastle, and more active council support for the installation of water tanks and solar heating in homes to dramatically reduce reliance on coal-fired power.

"The current council shows a lack of understanding of the depth of the climate change crisis", said Alcorn. "The entire Arctic icecap is probably going to melt by 2013 so we need to get real about reducing emissions ... It's not middle-aged businesspeople and developers who are going to inherit the burden of climate change; it's people my age."

The alliance candidates oppose the NSW government's plan to privatise electricity and call for the construction of a solar panel factory in the Hunter region, providing alternative employment opportunities to the coal industry. They are also committed to a more democratic council that supports community campaigns to challenge the environmental and social destruction caused by polluting industries and big developers.

Alcorn, the Socialist Alliance candidate for mayor, is a climate change activist and hip-hop artist in the group Dhopec. He is a member of Resistance and recently helped organise the national Camp for Climate Action. Alcorn has a degree in architecture and is a member of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union.

Cameron, a Newcastle University student who has studied environmental management at TAFE, grew up in Muswellbrook where he saw the devastating impact of the coal industry on the region.

Ealing, an economics graduate, has been involved in progressive campaigns since she was at high school, when she campaigned against the mandatory detention of refugees. She currently works tutoring high-school students.

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