Notice: Climate Action Blue Mountains is no longer an incorporated association, as of 1 April 2016. The committee took the difficult decision in 2015 to disband the formal organisation and pursue local climate action initiatives through other existing bodies, in particular the Blue Mountains Conservation Society. We encourage all existing supporters and interested individuals to join with the Consveration Society, Transition Blue Mountains and other local groups to pursue local action for a safe climate. We plan to maintain our Facebook page as a means of sharing information and promoting local climate action initiatives.

Thank you to everyone who participated in Climate Action BM (aka Katoomba Climate Action Now) over the years and helped make our campaigns, initiatives and events a success.

Thank you for your understanding.

Posts Tagged ‘Media Release’

Federal Election 2013: Macquarie Candidates Survey

With the Federal Election just over a week away, (some) responses are in to a survey of all the candidates standing in the seat of Macquarie, covering the Blue Mountains and parts of the Hawkesbury. The full results and our media release are below.

The survey was conducted by Climate Action Blue Mountains (the new name for Katoomba Area Climate Action Now), Stop CSG Blue Mountains and Permaculture Blue Mountains.

Responses by Danielle Wheeler (Greens) and Susan Templeman (ALP) are shown below. Sitting Liberal member, Louise Markus, did not respond despite numerous efforts to prompt a response.

Attempts were made to survey all candidates standing in Macquarie but, of the minor parties, a response was received from only the Sex Party’s candidate, Mark Littlejohn who was sympathetic to the aims of the survey but said the Party did not yet have specific policies on these issues. He added:

The Sex Party believes that independent, peer-reviewed scientific research is essential to inform the broad spectrum of knowledge and debate in our 21st century world.

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society also conducted a survey of Macquarie candidates on environmental issues – you can find the results here.

Responses to Climate Action Blue Mountains questions

 QuestionDanielle Wheeler (GRN)Susan Templeman (ALP)
1The International Energy Agency, Australia's Climate Commission and others agree we need to keep the majority of remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground to have a better than even chance of limiting average global temperature to a maximum 2 degrees centigrade.
1aDo you have proposed economic policies (e.g. transfer of fossil fuel subsidies to the renewable energy industry) that aim to rapidly restructure the Australian economy away from its current dependence on the use and export of fossil fuels in order to achieve this? Why? Please give an example(s) of relevant policy.Yes.
Greens' Renewable Energy Policy requires 90% renewable by 2030. The Greens believe strongly that remaining fossil fuels must remain in the ground. On 21 August the Greens launched their Community Renewable Energy Policy pledging $100 m. over 5 years for locally owned and operated clean energy projects. See
Signing the Kyoto Protocol was a first step. Putting a price on carbon was the next step to be able to tackle climate change. And now we need to ensure that the clean energy fund is directed to develop renewables and reduce energy consumption.
2According to consultancy Green Energy Markets, Australia is on track to surpass its renewable energy target by deriving 22.5% of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
2aDo you support the retention of the renewable energy target for large scale renewable generation of 41,000GWh by 2020 despite this amount exceeding the 20% target?Yes. This is consistent with our clean energy policy of 90% renewable by 2030.Yes
2bGiven the important role of the renewable energy target in meeting Australia's emissions reduction target, would you support raising the renewable energy target beyond 2020 to a minimum of 90% by 2030? Why?Yes.
90% renewable by 2030 is Greens' policy.
I support the intent and would work with industry to determine the most ambitious but achievable targets in the appropriate timeframe.
3Would you support the building of a concentrated solar thermal power station (with molten salt storage) as has been suggested for Port Augusta as part of a renewable energy plan to begin replacing Australia's existing brown-coal fired power stations? Why?Yes.
Solar thermal power forms part of the Greens 90% renewable by 2030 package in conjunction with wind and rooftop solar. The Greens also allowed funding for the community solar package.
Don't know.
I don't know enough detail about this project at this stage, but would be happy to be taken through the detail at a later date.

Responses to Stop CSG Blue Mountains Questions

 QuestionDanielle Wheeler (GRN)Susan Templeman (ALP)
1Would you support a parliamentary motion to use the Commonwealth corporations powers under the Constitution to legislate:
1aLandholders' rights to refuse an access agreement with mining companies seeking to explore or mine on their property? Why?Yes.
People buy land in good faith thinking they own all of it, not just the bit on the top. Experience with CSG exploration shows it has a huge negative impact on quality of life and destroys communities. People have the right to say no.
No further information provided.
1bNo-go zones in relation to coal seam gas exploration and extraction in drinking water catchments? Why?Yes.
This is a no brainer. Australia is the driest continent on earth. Our water is incredibly precious. There is no room for extractive industries in drinking water catchments.
No further information provided.
1cNo-go zones in relation to coal seam gas exploration and extraction on land primarily used for food production? Why?Yes.
Food security is a huge issue for Australia and inextricably linked to water security. Agricultural land must be protected from both development and extractive industries right through the 21st century.
No further information provided.

Responses to Permaculture Blue Mountains Questions

 QuestionDanielle Wheeler (GRN)Susan Templeman (ALP)
1Food security will be an ever increasing issue in Australia. Who do you believe should own the technology used to grow food, including GM food?No one should own the technology to grow food. Farmers should be able to save seed as they have always done and select characteristics best adapted to their area without corporate and legal interference.Our system allows for plant variety rights. However, I am more concerned that no matter who the owner, there is reasonable access to the seeds, at fair and reasonable prices, particularly in developing countries.
2Would you support the introduction of planning legislation to permanently preserve prime agricultural land on the urban/rural fringe of our cities for farming?Yes.
This is urgent. Agricultural land is vital for cities especially as fuel prices rise. Agricultural land in the Hawkesbury and Macarthur must be preserved. We can grow houses anywhere. Good food needs good land.
No further information provided.
3Again in relation to food security do you support the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance Peoples' Food Plan which prioritizes the interests of Australian farmers, consumers, community organizations, and food related industries. Why?
More information:
As a permaculturist I am very familiar with this plan. We have a small window to act while fuel prices are low. Land is still available and small farmers still exist. I am part of a working group at Permaculture Sydney West devising a local food plan for Western Sydney provided by the Peoples' Food Plan.
Not at this stage. I don't have familiarity with this site, and unfortunately in the middle of an election campaign I don't have the time to really unpack and consider the content.
Download our media release: Candidates Weigh in on Environment

Big Solar Poll results presented to MPs

Update: news of our visit to Louise Markus published in the Gazette – leave a comment to show your support the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The Big Solar Poll results are in! An army of volunteers conducted an impressive 12,000 conversations  in local communities across Australia, revealing 94% support for building large scale solar power stations, despite only 64%
saying they were aware of big solar plants being built elsewhere around the world.  An overwhelming 95% of respondents agreed with government funding of big solar via a mechanism such as the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Read the full report: 12,000 Voices for Big Solar.

As its contribution to the Big Solar Poll, Katoomba Area Climate Action Now volunteers conducted more than 330 conversations across the Macquarie electorate:

  • Over 83% of respondents indicated support for building big solar
  • 86% supported government funding to help build it.

The results were presented to Federal MP for Macquarie, Louise Markus, on 25 May 2012. Our media release to the Blue Mountains Gazette is reproduced below. A full copy of the local report, including a selection of comments from survey respondents, can be downloaded here:


KatoombaCAN presents local Big Solar Poll to Louise Markus

KACAN Secretary, Noni McDevitt, and KACAN President, Sue Morrison, presenting results of the Blue Mountains Big Solar Poll to Federal MP for Macquarie, Louise Markus, at her Windsor office.

Members of a local climate action group have called on Louise Markus, Federal MP for Macquarie, to support the establishment of a renewable energy fund that will help finance the growth of renewables in Australia.

Legislation to establish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will soon go before Federal Parliament. The Coalition opposes the $10 billion fund, which would provide loan guarantees and competitive interest rates as a catalyst for increased private and community investment in renewables.

President of Katoomba Area Climate Action Now, Ms Sue Morrison, told Ms Markus the local community overwhelmingly supports government initiatives that will result in a transition away from coal and gas-fired power stations to big solar power and other renewable sources.

“We conducted polling across the Macquarie electorate over the past couple of months to find out what people know about big solar power and whether they support initiatives aimed at overcoming the existing financial barriers to construction of large solar power stations in Australia.

“We talked at length with more than 330 people from a range of demographic and socio-economic groups and more than 83 per cent said solar power plants should be built in Australia to take advantage of its abundant sunshine and open space.”

Ms Noni McDevitt, who undertook polling in upper mountains villages, said just over half of those polled were aware of concentrated solar thermal power plants being built elsewhere in the world, but many were unaware that molten salt storage tanks can store heat for power generation overnight.

“More than 40 per cent of people were unfamiliar with this 21st century solar technology and many commented the government should be doing more to educate people about renewable energy options.”

Ms Morrison said more than 86 per cent of those surveyed supported the government’s proposed fund to kickstart big solar in Australia, provided it was well managed and projects were well thought out and commercially viable.

“With current subsidies favouring fossil fuels and powerful vested interests entrenching the existing energy mix, it’s very hard for solar power to get a foothold in Australia.

“Australia is being left behind, with countries like the U.S., Germany, China, India and Spain racing ahead with solar techologies.

“It’s time to level the playing field and provide investment funds for solar power stations that will ultimately lower the cost of electricity for all Australians relative to our increasingly expensive and declining fossil fuels.

“Renewable power will also result in creation of thousands of jobs in regional areas currently suffering from a decline in manufacturing industries or over-reliance on mining for new jobs.”

“A site has already been identified near Mudgee which could support a community-owned solar thermal power plant as an alternative to the expansion of coal mining on the edge of our precious World Heritage Area.”

Find out more about the Big Solar Poll:

Big Solar Campaign Launched at Echo Point

KatoombaCAN Launches Big Solar campaign at Echo PtMedia Release: Big Solar Campaign Launched at Echo Point

KATOOMBA, Sat 3 Mar: While recent drizzle at Echo Point slowed production of electricity from the visitor centre’s 10kW solar PV system, a group of hardy local residents braved the weather to launch a campaign promoting large scale solar electricity generation.

Local environment groups are calling on Federal MP, Louise Markus, to get behind the Let’s Build Big Solar campaign as well as supporting the government’s proposed $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will provide loan guarantees necessary to get large scale solar power up and running in Australia.

“Australia is the sunniest continent on earth, so it makes sense that we use this vast resource to provide us with large amounts of safe, clean, renewable electricity,” said Sue Morrison, President of Katoomba Area Climate Action Now.

“The installation of more than 1,000 megawatts of solar PV on household, school and commercial rooftops across Australia has delayed the need for new polluting power stations, but we need large scale solar electricity generation with storage if we want to avoid continuing reliance on polluting fossil fuels”.

Australia’s largest solar power facility is the 3 MW solar thermal concentrator attached to Liddell coal-fired power station near Singleton, where construction is underway to double its solar capacity, but this is tiny compared to concentrating solar power stations in Spain, Germany and California, where molten salt is used to store heat for power production throughout the night.

“We are way behind other countries in taking advantage of our abundant renewable energy sources,” said Ms Morrison.

“Spain’s 20MW Gemasolar concentrating solar power station is already generating 24 hour power for 25,000 households, with construction underway to power a further 70,000 households, creating thousands of local jobs.

“Germany installed more than 7,500MW of solar PV last year alone – equivalent to 50 Moree Solar farms, one of the large scale projects proposed for funding under the government’s Solar Flagships program.

“While the cost of polluting fossil fuels will only rise as global demand increases, renewable electricity gets cheaper as the industry expands – California is already buying solar power at prices which compare favourably with coal and wind.”

Together with similar groups across Australia, Katoomba Area Climate Action Now will be polling local residents over the next two months to gauge the level of support for big solar. Poll results will be presented to local MPs in their electorates and in Canberra.

More information is available from

Blue Mountains residents want plan for renewable energy

KACAN ask Louise Markus to unlock renewable energyUpdate: Our media release, below, has prompted a story in this week’s Blue Mountains Gazette, including a response from Louise Markus:

But Louise Markus said the coalition was “absolutely committed to action” on climate change.

“A coalition government will implement a climate change strategy based on direct action to reduce emissions by five per cent by 2020 and improve the environment.

“Direct action on soil carbons is a major part of our strategy supported by other measures such as planting 20 million trees in available public spaces and supporting emerging technologies such as solar fields, geothermal projects or tidal and wave projects that will reduce CO2 emissions and deliver significant environmental outcomes without a new tax burdening everyday Australians.”

Media Release

On Thursday, members of Katoomba Area Climate Action Now handed over the results of over 300 conversations with local people around renewable energy to Louise Markus, Member for Macquarie.

“Today we handed Ms Markus, our local MP, the results of our 304 conversations with people about renewable energy.” said Sue Morrison, spokesperson for Katoomba Area Climate Action Now.

“Over the past 3 months, volunteers from our group held street stalls, visited markets, knocked on doors and approached people in towns from Springwood to Blackheath to talk, listen to and record what they think about renewable energy.”

“96% of the people we spoke to want strong policies to support new jobs and investment in renewable energy and a remarkable 88% want Australia to develop a plan to move to 100% renewable energy.

“We did this as part of the nationwide 100% renewable energy campaign, joining with over 72 community groups in every state and territory to record the thoughts and comments of over 14,000 people.

“What we find when we talk to people and share information is that Blue Mountains residents overwhelmingly want to talk about solutions. They want to get behind a positive vision.

“They are tired of the negativity and bickering by politicians and just want our elected representatives to get on and do something.”

“The coalition seems to keep just saying no to action on climate change and renewable energy. They seem more interested in blocking things than pushing for the investment in renewable energy that people in our area are calling for” said Erland Howden, another volunteer organiser with Katoomba Area Climate Action Now.

So we are asking Louise Markus to tell us what her plan is for how we can get serious renewable energy investment flowing into our area and make it more affordable for all Australians. We want to report back to the people we spoke to telling them what Ms Markus said.”

“We know people are worried about rising energy prices and that renewable energy is the only source of power right now that gets cheaper the more we install it. If Louise Markus was serious about rising energy prices she’d be coming out strongly in favour of renewable energy.”

“It’s time we got on with it and unlocked the potential of renewable energy like solar and wind in our area and we will keep working to see that happen,” concluded Erland Howden.

Download Media Release as PDF  Download the Blue Mountains Report