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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Young people launch fight against gas cash grab

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Protesters rally outside ‘Power’ breakfast today in Perth. Photo supplied.

Young people in Perth are rallying this morning outside a closed business breakfast led by gas industry figure and National COVID-19 Coordination Committee chair Nev Power, calling on the federal government to fund their future, rather than backing gas.

The rally is also a launch event for the Fund Our Future Not Gas National Day of Action on 25 September.

Strikers argue that using taxpayers’ money to prop up the gas industry is a misuse of public funds, which could be better spent investing in alternatives like renewable energy that will create sustainable jobs for young people and help to fight the climate crisis.

‘Gas is a dangerous fossil fuel that’s fuelling climate change,’ said school student Lucy Murdoch of Geraldton WA, who spoke outside Nev Power’s breakfast this morning.

Another protester at today’s rally in Perth. Photo supplied.

‘The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission is stacked with gas executives.

‘Of course they’re making a bid to convince the government to spend taxpayers’ money to subsidise the gas industry.

‘I want our federal government to make responsible choices and invest in clean technology of the future,’ said Ms Murdoch.

‘Renewables are the cheapest form of energy and they would create thousands of new jobs for young people like me.

‘Spending public funds on polluting gas isn’t just a waste of money – it’s putting our safety, our future, and our climate at risk.’

The September 25th: Fund Our Future Not Gas National Day of Action will see the School Strike 4 Climate network and First Nations communities join forces with thousands of Australians to take on the gas lobby, demanding that the government rule out spending public money to expand the gas industry.

Organisers say the National Day of Action will be in line with current COVID-19 restrictions and will take place with the health and safety of the community’s most vulnerable in mind.

The day of action is calling for no public funds for gas and other damaging fossil fuel projects. Instead, they are calling for recovery funds to be spent on:

  • Resourcing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions that guarantee land rights and care for country
  • The creation of jobs that fast track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover
  • Projects that transition our economy and communities to 100% renewable energy by 2030, through expanded public ownership

Supporters speak

Gadrian Hoosan. Photo supplied.

Gadrian Hoosan, a Garrwa/Yanwuwa man from Borroloola in the NT’s Gulf of Carpentaria said, ‘The Morrison Government’s plans for a major gas expansion put our lands, water and communities on the frontlines of dangerous fracking activity.

‘NT First Nations communities have long stood with fellow Territorians to say no to fracking, but right now we need to unite with the rest of the country to stop this threat.

‘Join us on the streets on September 25 to say no to a fracked future.’

Judith Kiejda, Assistant General Secretary of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association, said, ‘The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the school students in opposing the Australian government’s plan to hand billions of taxpayers’ dollars over to the gas industry.

‘Climate change is a health emergency and we implore the government to recognise the overwhelming need to act responsibility. Using public money to expand the gas industry is irresponsible,’ said Ms Kiejda.

‘If the government is serious about generating jobs, then boosting funding for our health system to ensure it can strive beyond the current pandemic will not only encourage growth in our health workforce, it will help protect the health and well-being of our communities.’

Protest organisers say actions on 25 September will range from giant human signs to online social media storms (in places where the community can’t come together in person) with communities uniting around a clear message: ‘Fund Our Future, Not Gas’.

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