Illawarra Greens. Social justice, environmental sustainability, peace and non-violence and grassroots democracy.

How the Illawarra's state election candidates would handle the rising cost of living

Cath Blakey (The Greens): As your Greens MP for Wollongong I will push the NSW government to invest in public services that relieve cost of living pressure. Successive Liberal and Labor governments have sold public assets, run down and privatised services and cut public sector jobs leaving the people of NSW exposed to increased costs when private shareholders take a cut. Taxes on excessive corporate profits would certainly help ease inflation and be used to fund essential services. It's clear that inequality is undermining our prosperity - it means the barista can't find a secure and affordable rental, and the nurse moves interstate where the pay and conditions are better. Instead of giving $78 million to a gas power company, I want the NSW government to establish a publicly-owned electricity authority that aims to break even and enhance renewable energy generation and storage in the grid. Instead of leaving families on social housing waiting list for 10 years, I will ban the sale of public housing and ensure that more public housing is built. Instead of giving developers special treatment and tax concessions, I am committed to planning rules that require new large developments to have at least 30 percent long-term affordable housing. Instead of granting mining licenses in our drinking water catchment I will push the government to preserve our drinking water catchment and ensure we have affordable and robust publicly owned water supply in-perpetuity. Instead of contracting out bus services, I will push the NSW government to invest in making public transport free, frequent, reliable and publicly owned and operated. Did you know that contract for Opal Plus is $500 million dollars!? Instead of a fancy ticketing system and persecuting the poor for fair evasion the Greens are pushing to make public transport free. The state government already subsidises 80% of public transport costs. Malta, Luxembourg and many cities in Europe have introduced extensive free public transport networks because it keeps people moving, reduces transport emissions and dissolves traffic congestion. As an MP for Wollongong I will push the state government to give local councils financial security through equitable state government funding and an end to cost shifting. Libraries, child care centres, parks, streets and footpaths - Council maintains all kinds of services, facilities and infrastructure in Wollongong that are well used and much loved. The state government imposes costs like the landfill levy and emergency services levy without reinvesting it in council services or infrastructure. Of course, fee-free and well resourced public health care are also essential to relieving the cost of living pressure for Illawarra residents. As your Greens MP for Wollongong I will push the NSW government to make the big banks, fossil fuel companies, property developers and the gambling industry pay their fair share of tax so we can invest in renewable energy, affordable housing and public services for all. Housing, water, electricity and transport are all sectors where serious public investment is needed.

For more on the Greens plan to lower of living pressures visit our website:


Kit Docker (The Greens): Governments need to pursue structural and lasting change to provide permanent cost of living relief for Illawarra families. Too often governments resort to band-aid solutions and short-term thinking when it comes to alleviating cost of living pressures.

Vouchers and rebates are great but at the end of the day these are short sighted and don't go to the root cause of the problems we are facing.As a lifelong renter, I know the stress that is caused by not knowing how long I'll be living in my home.

I want to see greater security and certainty given to renters by limiting the size and frequency of rent increases, banning no-grounds evictions, and giving renters the option of longer leases. To ensure that everyone can afford a place to call home, the Greens will introduce legislation that requires property developers to include a minimum of 30 percent affordable housing in new large developments.

We will re-establishing a public bank for NSW and join other countries in providing mortgage holders with real choice when it comes to borrowing for the family home. Mortgage holders shouldn't be forced to pay shareholder profits as part of their fortnightly repayments.

When it comes to our electricity bills, it's abundantly clear that privatisation has failed. The people of NSW are being taken advantage of by greedy energy companies, who are making mega-profits by capitalising on the war in Ukraine. The Greens solution is simple: give customers a new option by introducing a publicly-owned electricity authority that aims to break even rather than profit from their customers.Finally, NSW needs to follow cities all over the world by providing free and accessible public transport and lift the public sector wage cap to prevent thousands of households from real wage cuts.


Jamie Dixon (The Greens): We have built the issue of cost-of-living into all our policies for this election. The Greens are unencumbered by lobbyists or corporate donations, and will make the necessary choices to spend the state's $120 billion a year budget where it is needed most by the public. This includes doing away with the $500 million Opal network ticketing system, and making all public transport free to immediately reduce travel costs, increase accessibility to employment, and reduce reliance on private vehicles and fossil fuels. The Greens will ensure that everyone across the state has access to fee free healthcare by forming appropriately placed, and properly staffed community healthcare clinics. The Greens will reverse the disastrous sell-off of our energy sector, by establishing a public owned renewable energy provider which both builds the infrastructure, and provides at-cost access to the public without the 20 per cent privatisation markup. We will ensure that all our public schools are paid 100 per cent of the Schools Resourcing Standard, build the capacity for free preschooling, and return TAFE to its previous status as a fee free public vocational education provider, so that public education at all stages will not cost the public a cent. In conjunction with these measures, the Greens will abolish the public sector wage cap, and give healthcare workers, teachers, and firefighters an immediate 15 per cent wage increase, so that the people we need to deliver these essential public services, can afford to live where the services are needed.


Tonia Gray (The Greens): I have lived in the Illawarra for over six decades and come from working class background in multicultural Port Kembla during the first 10 years of my life. I am mindful that reliable and safe housing is a basic human right, everyone needs a sanctuary and refuge.

The Greens will stop unfair evictions, build affordable homes and end the special treatment for property investors. We know renting laws need to be fairer and secure, making rental increases are in line with wage growth and optional long-term rental arrangements. The Greens will insist that 30 per cent of all new private residential developments are set aside for long-term affordable housing - so that everyone has access to a secure, affordable home.

A vote for The Greens puts people before profits.


Story in the Illawarra Mercury, 21 March 2023.