Latest News and Media Releases - Illawarra Greens

Storm Drains -- Mithra Cox interviewed

Wollongong's storm drains could look a whole lot greener with Council looking into including rain gardens in new developments.

The gardens aim to filter water before it goes down the drain and help slow down flooding in the area.

Watch the interview, Win News Illawarra, 6 February 2020

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Wollongong mayor says fire-affected council leaders should be paid more

Greens Councillor Mithra Cox said words couldn't do justice to the sadness surrounding the loss of life and spoke of her own family's distress as her childhood home in Kangaroo Valley came under threat. Cr Cox also gained support for a suggestion to thank the ABC and its staff, acknowledging that during the height of the crisis, radio was the most up-to-date communication channel and, during power and phone outages, the only way for people to access life-saving information.

Read the article by Kate McIlwain in The Illawarra Mercury, 5 February 2020

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Pitch for innovative rain gardens to replace Wollongong stormwater drains

Read the article by Kate McIlwain in The Illawarra Mercury, 4 February 2020.

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University of Wollongong forced to dump coal conference over planned climate blockade

The University of Wollongong (UOW) has withdrawn from hosting a long-running coal conference amid concerns over planned climate protests. The Coal Operators Conference had been hosted by UOW's mining engineering faculty since 1998 and was scheduled to take place from February 12 to 14. The university said it made the decision after considering the needs of the community at this time and adjusted its priorities accordingly.

Climate activists had planned to blockade the event, and say the announcement is a strong indicator that the community supports tougher action on climate change. But Wollongong's Lord Mayor, Gordon Bradbery, claimed the coal and steel industries had been unfairly targeted by environmental activists.

Greens councillor Mithra Cox said the Mayor's comments were reckless given council's environmental commitments to reduce its emissions.

"It's utterly irresponsible that our decision-makers are not taking this seriously or not treating this with the seriousness it deserves," she said. "If you say you believe in climate change but we should keep burning coal, it's like saying you know you're driving off a cliff but you're going to keep driving."

Read the report by Timothy Fernandez, from ABC Illawarra, 22 January 2020.

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Port pool still closed - and no word on how long until it's back in use

Works had also been underway this year to remove large amounts of sand which have been being washed up next to the surf club, hindering access.

In June Ward 2 Councillor Cath Blakey called for the sand shifting work to halt until it could be properly evaluated whether the solution was working.

Much of the east coast of Australia is experiencing more sand than usual, because of atypical weather patterns and a lack of heavy seas to shift large amounts of sand.

"Currently, along the entire east coast there is a high volume of sand, mostly concentrated at the northern end of beaches," a council spokeswoman said.

Read the article by Ben Langford in The Illawarra Mercury, 12 December 2019.

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Wollongong Council takes steps to a carbon-free future

Wollongong Council voted unanimously in favour of a target for zero emissions. Greens Councillor Mithra Cox said council voted for "getting started on making the immediate and deep cuts to emissions that we need in order to get there in time to solve the climate crisis."

Watch the WIN Illawarra News, 11 December 2019

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How Wollongong council will begin cutting emissions under new 2030 target

Under their new targets, the council's own operations will be carbon neutral by 2030, and the rest of the city - including residents and big polluters in the industrial sector - would have net zero emissions by 2050.

With bushfire smoke blowing in to cloud the view from the council chambers during the debate, Greens councillor Mithra Cox said it was vital for the council to show leadership on the complicated issue of cutting emissions in an industrial city.

"The fires we can see outside are the result of pollution that went into the atmosphere 20 years ago, so no matter what we do now we will continue to warm for the next 20 years," she said. "We are fast running out of time. [But] this motion gives us a framework to begin reducing our emissions, and we can begin tomorrow."

Greens Cr Cox said some countries were already making moves towards zero emissions steelmaking, with Germany running a blast furnace using hydrogen power.

"If we are truly a city of innovation, we should be racing against the clock to make the world's greenest steel because we are going to need steel to build wind turbines, railways and solar panels to make this transition," she said.

Read the article by Kate McIlwain in The Illawarra Mercury, 11 December 2019.

Read the article by Glen Humphries in The Illawarra Mercury, 10 December 2019, about an initiative that might help.

See the WIN News Illawarra item about the sort of initiative in the Illawarra that can help.

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Wollongong, Australia's steel city, commits to be carbon neutral by 2050

Wollongong has set itself the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The city council has committed to an even more ambitious operational target of zero net emissions by 2030. It is the 26th council in Australia to adopt a timeline for a whole-of-community reduction.

 Greens councillor Mithra Cox said the commitment was welcome but overdue.

"I am glad we are here, but it is not just six months too late, it's 30 years too late," she said. "Our city unfortunately, is one of the highest emitters in the country, however, it does mean that we have considerable scope to reduce our emissions. When you come from a high base like that, you have a greater capacity to make a difference than if you were already low."

The initial target will equate to a reduction of 2.7 per cent — 74,251 tonnes — per year for its carbon-intensive economy. Council expects to achieve almost half of its savings through landfill gas capture, but it will likely have to invest in hundreds of thousands of dollars in offsets to achieve the goal.

Read the article by Kelly Fuller from ABC Illawarra, 11 December 2019

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Southern Phone sale approved by Wollongong council, despite concerns about 'fishy' deal

A majority voted to approve the sale of the council's two shares, which will rake in about $875,000 for the city budget. But Greens councillors Mithra Cox and Cath Blakey voted against the deal.

Read the article by Kate McIlwain in The Illawarra Mercury, 19 November 2019.

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No light rail for Wollongong -- yet

Greens councillor Mithra Cox spoke in support of Liberal Councillor John Dorahy's idea of light rail, saying Wollongong needed a range of better transport measures to become more sustainable and support businesses in the CBD.

"Retail is not dead, retail is dead in Wollongong because we don't have a really good integrated public transport network," she said.

"People are just absolutely limited by our lack of imagination. i think it's absolutely a false argument to say that just because our other public transport is crap - that our train is infrequent, and the government cut funding to the free bus - that we shouldn't even bother talking about this."

Read the article by Kate McIlwain in The Illawarra Mercury, 29 October 2019

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