1 February 2017: Wollongong welcomes Steve Posselt, climate campaigner, to Belmore Basin.
The Illawarra Greens local group covers the Federal electorate of Cunningham and part of the electorate of Whitlam (formerly known as 'Throsby'). A local Greens member, Michael Organ, became the first member of the Greens to win a seat in the House of Representatives when he won the Cunningham by-election in 2002 -- he served until 2004.
At State Level, the Illawarra Greens cover the electorates of Heathcote, Keira, Shellharbour and Wollongong.
There are two Greens councillors on Wollongong City Council: Jill Merrin and George Takacs, who were both elected in 2011. In Shellharbour, Independent Councillor Peter Moran is a member of the Greens.
See Illawarra Greens on
After the good news that Wollongong and Shellharbour would remain separate cities, there will be council elections in both cities on 9 September 2017.
Nationally, The Greens' policies are based on four principles: ecological sustainability; social equality and economic justice; grassroots democracy; peace, nonviolence and disarmament. Read more details about our policies based on those principles.
We use The Greens principles to look at local issues. The Illawarra needs more jobs. Read how The Greens would get Thousands more jobs for the Illawarra.
You may be surprised to read that The Greens are supporting the steelworkers in their bid to maintain steel production in the Illawarra. We cannot do without steel. The steel produced at Bluescope's Port Kembla steelworks is important to Australia, both for our own use and for export, and the jobs it provides are vital to the Illawarra. At the South Coast Greens Regional Network Meeting in July, before his premature death, John Kaye MP argued strongly and convincingly for keeping steel production at Port Kembla. This battle seems to have been won -- for now -- but we need to make sure that we continue to argue for continued jobs in the steel industry at Port Kembla.
There is pressure from Bluescope's shareholders to shut down the blast furnace and stop producing steel there. This is in response to the current glut of steel on the world market.
But the social and economic costs to the Illawarra of closing the blast furnace would be immense -- far more costly to Australia than the governmental support needed to keep it running.
Things can be done to keep industry in Australia. The USA and Canada both have higher costs than Australia, but maintain steel production. One support they give to the industry is to require government projects to use a minimum proportion of locally produced steel. Our Greens state MP, David Shoebridge, has succeeded in steering this proposal through the State Upper House. There is widespread support for this Greens initiative from all areas of politics.
We should also enourage the steel industry to reduce its carbon footprint of steel production -- new techniques are beginning to emerge. Hydrogen has been suggested as a reductant. Hydrogen is already used in small amounts for humidity control of the gas, but the amount cannot be increased significantly due to the endothermic nature of the reaction. To use hydrogen as a reductant would probaly require a nuclear reactor just to split enough water into hydrogen and oxygen, and that is not something we would like to see. There are many other technologies that would reduce the environmental footprint but we do not yet know how feasible they are. It might be possible to recycle the carbon monoxide produced from the furnace and then reinject it. This could reduce the carbon footprint by over half. Using microwave technology to split carbon dioxide into to carbon monoxide, which could then be re-used in the furnace would further reduce the carbon foot print. Australia could be a world leader in cleaner steel production. Bluescope are also developing wonderful new products, such as the one in which the whole roof generates electricity. We need to support this and encourage the development of new technologies that take us away from reliance on fossil fuels.
We should support the steel industry for environmental and social reasons.
Like most residents of the Illawarra, we support the Save Our Steel -- Port Kembla Community campaign
The age of coal and oil should be over by now. The technology is there right now that could enable Australia to produce all its electricity from renewable sources -- especially sunshine and wind. Making all energy from renewable resources will benefit the planet, and it will be save us money. We have fallen behind other countries in doing this. In late 2015, Australian Greens showed how this could be done in the Renew Australia plan. Read the report, or watch the 60-minute video. The report gives a plan for having 90% renewables by 2030, and discusses how it could be financed and how support could be given to workers.
Many councils in Australia, and around the world, have set targets to reduce their own emissions. It's time for Wollongong to make a real commitment to careful use of energy.
At a Wollongong Council Meeting on 21 October 2015, Councillor Jill Merrin brought a proposal to Wollongong Council asking the council to set modest targets for the reduction of carbon emissions. Councillors presented the case well, over a one and a half hour meeting. Sadly, the motion was defeated. However, we will keep on trying to achieve this.
All over the world, on 29 October 2015, people marched to show that they wanted action on climate change. The next day the Paris UN Climate Conference began -- our prime minister has shown that, like his predecessor, he is not serious about Climate Action.
The people of Wollongong showed that they did care. There was a rally and march along Crown Street -- perhaps about 500 people. 223 people from the Wollongong area then took a special train to Sydney, to which we made a modest (about 10c per person!) contribution to offset the carbon consumption. On the train there was music and song. Then we joined in the huge rally with around 50,000 others, and walked to the Opera House.
The Greens were among the organisers and were well-represented at the local events and in Sydney. We met Greens from all over New South Wales. We also kept seeing the distinctive placards produced by the Wollongong organisers, scattered throughout this huge and peaceful crowd. See more pictures on Facebook!
There is a lot going on. You can join in to support a cause, learn about issues, or support relevant organisations.
See the list of forthcoming events supported by NSW Greens .
Then think about becoming a member of The Greens (NSW).
Then please contact Cath, our convenor (email: Illawarragreens [AT] gmail.com). For information on membership, email Stephen.
Website last updated 20 August 2017.