NSW State Conference 2022.
Post-Conference Update 20/10/22:
The dust has now settled on another NSW Labor annual conference.
This year was a particularly successful one for environmental and climate policy.
Thanks to the work of dozens of LEAN activists, the 2023 NSW Labor State Platform is undoubtedly the strongest it’s ever been.
Here is a recap of the commitments we won:
- Establish regional statutory authorities, to manage the transition and give unions and community groups a seat at the table - in line with what LEAN and our affiliates in the Hunter Jobs Alliance have been calling for.
- A re-commitment to invest in publicly-owned renewable energy in NSW.
- A package on the electrification transition from gas including: a gas substitution roadmap, a review of household energy supply with an aim to curtail new household gas connections, minimum energy efficiency standards that include electrification for rentals, support programs for electrification and more!
- Updating the platform to recognise the need to protect 30% of Australia’s land, rivers and oceans by 2030.
- A process to reduce reliance on native timber forestry, and expand the plantation estate.
- Land clearing laws capable of stopping deforestation.
- Protect Sydney’s drinking water from damage and commission a detailed water-balance study.
- Reduce the NSW government’s public-sector emissions to net-zero by 2030.
- Legislate to ban all single-use plastics.
- Circular economy plan, with a long-term goal of zero waste to landfill or incineration.
- Support for sustainable recycling of coal-ash.
- Scaling of hydrogen production and ensuring all hydrogen infrastructure is green-hydrogen ready.
- A re-commitment that nuclear power is not a climate solution and the rejection of pro-nuclear motions that were submitted.
This conference was evidently one of NSW LEAN’s most productive ever.
The Shadow Ministers and MPs reported that they have been inundated by Labor branches passing motions in support of these LEAN motions.
The Building Sustainable Communities chapter was again the longest chapter with hundreds of motions from branches - demonstrating again the deep passion and interest of Labor members on these issues.
A massive thank you to every rank and file activist who moved these motions at your local branch. Collectively, we have achieved great progress this year.
Of course, as science continues to demonstrate, there is more to do. Disappointingly LEAN did not have the support of conference to achieve support for our platform amendment ruling out subsidies for “infrastructure associated with” fossil fuel extraction.
However - we made progress. Last year this was ‘rejected’. This year it was ‘noted’, and referred to the Federal Parliamentary Party for consideration.
We will continue to fight, to ensure that not an extra cent of public funding goes to a gas pipeline or any other fossil fuel infrastructure in NSW.
You can watch the speech Convenor Jaden Harris gave at the conference here, and Co-Organiser Penny Pederson gave here.
We’ve won these commitments in the Labor platform, now our focus must turn to helping Labor win the fast-approaching state election - just 155 days away.
The 2022 NSW State Labor conference is fast approaching. This October will be the first in-person NSW conference since 2018, and the last before the 2023 election. This makes it a key moment to help shape the agenda of an incoming NSW Labor government.
LEAN is encouraging branches from across NSW to support three key motions in the lead up to this conference:
- A commitment to establish a Hunter Valley Authority.
- Strong policies to support the electrification of households.
- A recommitment to delivering publicly owned renewable energy in government.
If you are a LEAN member or supporter in NSW, please take these motions to your local Labor branch, SEC and FEC for their consideration before conference in October.
Once you have, don’t forget to let us know by emailing us at [email protected] so we can keep track of which branches have supported these calls.
You can find all three motions here, and a brief explanation of each below.
You can see LEANs full submission of platform amendments here. We will have more information about our fringe events at conference soon, stay tuned!
Publicly Owned Renewable Energy
The energy crisis Australia is currently experiencing is another example of the failed experiment of electricity privatization. Previously our energy system was built with public finance, operated for the public good and returned a dividend to the state. The transition to renewables offers an opportunity to use public investment to return some of these benefits to the people of NSW.
At the 2019 election Labor committed to a state owned renewable energy company. It’s a commitment that is also in the NSW State Labor Platform.
In 2023, NSW Labor must rise to the challenge of the crisis in front of us and renew this commitment to deliver a publicly owned renewable energy corporation that will publicly invest in large scale renewables projects.
The electrification of household appliances offers significant savings to households as the price of gas rises, and the efficiency of electric technologies continues to increase.
As renewables begin to dominate our electricity grid, electrification of households is one of the fastest ways to reduce NSW’s emissions - all the technology we need is readily available today. This will help us reserve the gas supplies we do have for industry, which will transition over a longer timescale.
NSW Labor must ensure that the benefits of electrification are widely realised, and support policies to ensure that low income households, renters, and those in social housing are not left behind.
This motion calls on NSW Labor to support incentives for low and middle income households, upgrade the energy efficiency of social housing, set a date for the phase out of all household gas connections and introduce energy efficiency standards and disclosures for rentals.
A Hunter Valley Authority
The transformation underway in NSW’s energy industry is causing substantial industry restructuring that is impacting many workers and their communities. Labor must recognise the need for a new model of industry restructuring that is people-focused, committed to workers and communities having a seat at the table, and can deliver positive environmental co-benefits.
NSW Labor must support the work of local unions and community groups such as the Hunter Jobs Alliance, and ensure local voices have a seat at the table regarding their futures.
This motion calls on NSW Labor to support the establishment of regional statutory authorities, firstly in the Hunter region, charged with mitigating the adverse impacts of coal closures on workers and regional communities.
To learn more, read the Hunter Jobs Alliance report on the Hunter Valley Authority (HVA) proposal here.