Greens propose ‘Rain Gardens’ to help make Wollongong more drought and flood proof

Greens propose ‘Rain Gardens’ to help make Wollongong more drought and flood proof


03 Feb 2020

 Greens Councillor Mithra Cox will tonight introduce a Notice of Motion to Wollongong Council, to allow Rain Gardens to be used in place of regular storm water drains.

“A rain garden is a sunken garden, usually containing plants like reeds and rushes, that can cope with wet soil.  The garden captures initial rain water run off, allowing water to be absorbed by the soil instead of ending up as storm water,” Cr Cox said.

“There is a stormwater drain in the garden, but about half a metre higher than the lowest point of the depression, so that on most occasions, that water soaks into the soil instead of going into the stormwater system and being wasted.

“Only in very heavy rain does the rain garden overflow into the drain. Rain Gardens reduce flooding by keeping the water in the soil and use the retained water to grow attractive plants.

“Having just experienced one of the driest summers on record, people are very conscious that every drop is precious.

“With the recent rain, we hate to see all that beautiful water running straight into a concrete drain and out to sea. Rain Gardens help us capture the water in the soil instead of it being wasted,” Cr Cox said.

Background information:

Melbourne Water information about Rain Gardens:

In 2016, Marrickville Council developed a rain garden design manual for other LGAs to make it easier for other local government areas to adopt this practice. The design manual is available here:

Contact information: Mithra Cox 0419 720 322

Cr. Mithra Cox
Ward 1, Wollongong City Council
0419 720 322<tel:0419%20720%20322>

Add your reaction Share

Greens call for investment in hydrogen fuel industry in Wollongong

The Greens have today called for investment to make Port Kembla a hydrogen fuel hub

With recent news from Germany that Thyssenkrup have successfully begun powering their steelworks from hydrogen, the Illawarra Greens have called for investment in hydrogen technology in Port Kembla.
"Hydrogen fuel can create new jobs in Wollongong, and ensure that our steelworks can continue to operate in a low emissions future," Greens Councillor Mithra Cox said today.
"Hydrogen energy would provide energy security to the Port Kembla steelworks and give them a competitive advantage.
"Instead of importing LNG, as is planned, we could be exporting hydrogen to the world, boosting the economy of our region and the country.
"Another report published in September this year examined the possibility of Australia aiming for 200% renewable energy. We could produce more clean energy than we need and then export it using hydrogen. Hydrogen can be easily exported.
"Hydrogen fuel is already being used to power cars, including in the ACT Government fleet, and can be used to power trains, trucks and buses. Developing a hydrogen based transport industry would protect us from increases in oil prices.
"The only emission from hydrogen fuel is water.
"Australia's Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has backed the development of hydrogen fuel as a pathway to a zero emissions future.
"With such an abundance of sunshine and land mass, Australia could and should be leading the world in exporting clean energy -- but for that to happen we need investment in research and development.  Bodies like The Australian Renewable Energy Agency exist specifically for this purpose," Cr Cox said.
More information: Mithra Cox 0419 720 322
Add your reaction Share

Motherload Film Screening hosted by the Illawarra Greens

Please join us for the Illawarra premiere of MOTHERLOAD, a rollicking new documentary about how cargo bikes can save the world.
When: 7pm Wednesday 4 December, doors open 6.30pm
Where: Thirroul Library, 352-358 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul
Invite your friends on facebook: 
Californian filmmaker and new mum of twins, Liz Canning feels isolated and disconnected until she swaps her minivan for a cargo bike, a long-frame bicycle designed for carrying passengers and heavy loads.

Featuring stories from the US, Australia and beyond, MOTHERLOAD describes how the earliest bicycles facilitated women's suffrage and liberated the poor, and how 21st century bicycles are empowering mothers, families and communities around the world.

This screening coincides with the public consultation on Wollongong City Council's Cyling Strategy. Fill in the community survey to demand better bike lanes here:  

Watch the trailer:
Hope you can make it. If you would like some fliers or posters to help spread the word please let me know by email or phone.
Yours in revolutions,
Cath Blakey
ph: 0458490122
Add your reaction Share

Council's bike plan needs more action and fewer reports

Council have  started work on a new cycling strategy, but have not yet implemented any of the key actions from the previous (2014-2017) strategy, say Greens  Councillors.

"We all know that cycling in Wollongong is scary because we have hardly any safe cycleways," Greens Councillor for Ward 1 Mithra Cox said today.
"We have one nice shared path along the coast, but it doesn't get you to the centre of town, the university or any of the train stations or anywhere else useful.
"The previous bike plan clearly identified a need for east/west crossings, so that you can safely get to and from the coastal shared path to shops, train stations and importantly to the university.
"Why on earth are we spending thousands of dollars asking people what's wrong with cycling in Wollongong again? We already know what's wrong but have failed to build the infrastructure," Cr Cox said.
Greens Ward 2 Councillor Cath Blakey said: "We don't have a single separated bike path in our entire CBD. We cannot seriously claim to be a city for people unless we build the infrastructure to allow people to safely ride their bikes into town."
"Cycling rates have actually declined since the last Bike Strategy was developed.  And the reason is --  we didn't fund the strategy.
"A bike friendly city needs to be safe enough for kids and older people to ride safely and confidently.  This means designing our roads so that pedestrians, bikes and cars all have their own  section of the road to use.
"It's not rocket science.  We just need to build it," Cr Blakey said.
Add your reaction Share

Greens welcome climate emergency motion to be debated at Wollongong Council

Greens welcome climate emergency motion to be debated at Wollongong Council

6 Aug 2019

Greens councillor Mithra Cox has welcomed a move by Councillor Ann Martin for Wollongong Council to declare a climate emergency.

Cr Cox said:

"Climate change has been politically polarised for decades. It is now time for us to work together on solutions.

"This is an important motion that acknowledges the seriousness of the problem, and the short time we have left to take serious action.

"We don't have decades left to turn this ship around and gradually reduce emissions.  We need to act NOW. This year, this month, today.

"While we wait for our federal and state governments to grow up and take responsibility, local communities can and should start taking action to address climate change, and council has a leadership role to play.

"For too long the only action on climate action has been from individuals and in the private sector.

"We look forward to this first step to formally acknowledge climate change is a real threat to our wellbeing and work with staff to bring about positive changes for the community."

The climate emergency motion will be debated by Wollongong Council on Monday 12 August.

More information: Mithra Cox 0419 720 322
Some climate related images available here:

Cr. Mithra Cox
Ward 1, Wollongong City Council
0419 720 322<tel:0419 20720 20322>

Add your reaction Share

Greens announce plan to transition to electric vehicles


Greens announce plan to transition to electric vehicles


We will have a fully electric vehicle towing The Greens campaign caravan to demonstrate that electric cars have the power and convenience of petrol and diesel cars.

Who:  Greens candidates Rowan Huxtable and Jamie Dixon with electric car enthusiast Tom Hunt


Where:  Flagstaff Hill


When: 10am, Thursday 9th May


More info: Mithra Cox 0425 351 844




Greens announce plan to transition to electric vehicles


Australians will be left driving expensive and obsolete petrol or diesel vehicles after the rest of the world has transitioned to electric, unless Governments at all levels immediately begin installing the infrastructure to support electric vehicles, Rowan Huxtable, Greens candidate for Cunningham, said today.


Mr Huxtable said:


“Electric vehicles are better for our health, cheaper to refuel and maintain, and emit no pollution when powered by renewable energy.


“The Liberal Party scare campaign on electric cars has been a disgrace. Electric cars can travel long distances, be used by tradies, and for long weekends - as long as we have the infrastructre to support them.


“The Greens will fast-track the roll-out of fast-charging electric vehicle infrastructure and legislate tougher vehicle pollution standards to drive down transport pollution.


“The NRMA is advocating for a ban on petrol and diesel cars by 2030. They are investing $10m in fast charging stations on major highways. However, the federal government is doing very little except trying to run a scare campaign on electric vehicles."


Jamie Dixon, Greens candidate for Whitlam, said:


“With many countries phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles, Australia will be left behind if we don’t act now.


“The Netherlands (by 2025), Norway (2025), France (2040), the UK (2040), India (2030), Germany (2030), and China (2040) have all announced they will ban internal combustion engine cars in coming years.


“Major car manufacturers like Ford, Land Rover, General Motors, Volkswagen, BMW and Volvo are all shifting their investment strategies to develop their electric models and phase out their internal combustion cars. The writing is on the wall, and we need to get with the times."


The Greens Policy Platform on Electric Vehicles can be downloaded here:


More information: Mithra Cox 0425 351 844

Add your reaction Share

The Greens see more potential in Port Kembla than offered by LNG

The approval given to the proposed JERA LNG import terminal at Port Kembla is a massive step backward for both the economy, as well as the environment of the Illawarra. It is yet another propping up of the fossil fuel industry by an over-lobbied, and under scrutinised State government.

Jamie Dixon, the Greens candidate for Whitlam  says 'The fact that the proposal was moved ahead as a State Significant Infrastructure project, which allows it to completely by-pass what’s left of the Office of Environment and Heritage is surely a sign that it will not be in the community of the Illawarra’s best interests.'

"The company sourcing the LNG has stated that it will be purchased solely based on market prices, and this has no way of excluding LNG sourced by fracking of Coal Seam Gas, or any other means of
environmentally destructive mining."

"New South Wales already produces more than enough LNG to supply our local needs, however the government has not ensured that any quota is kept for domestic use, and instead allows 100% export, leaving us with a shortfall, and needing to build further infrastructure to meet our own

Mr Dixon goes on to present an alternative  - "Instead of looking backwards to fossil fuels, we in the City of Innovation, should be actively looking to be at the forefront of the expanding $200+ billion/year hydrogen energy production market. Unlike LNG, hydrogen fuel production and consumption does not affect CO2 emissions, and will provide us with both the back up renewable energy needs to compliment wind, solar, and pumped hydro, as well as earning valuable export dollars, and employing just as many locals in Green Jobs for the Illawarra, as LNG."

"Port Kembla and surrounds have the available industrial space, access to fresh water, and desire to engage in energy production which helps to supply our total needs, as well as halting the potential for climate change."

"This is just one more example of our State government bowing to pressure by cashed up lobbyists, with short term economic goals, and no care for our environment, or the long term security of our energy and employment sectors."

For further information and comment,  contact:
Jamie Dixon
Greens candidate for Whitlam
0403 402 114
Add your reaction Share

Early learning centres in all new public schools under Greens Early Education plan

Media Release                              

19 March 2019   

Early learning centres in all new public schools under Greens Early Education plan The Greens have called for a radical rethink of pre-school and early learning services, announcing a policy that would bring preschool for three and four year olds into the state’s public education system. 

The plan includes a proposal to build Early Learning Centres in all new public primary schools and retrofitting existing schools based on local need and space availability. This investment in public pre-school facilities will help ensure access to free, universal pre-school for all three and four year olds for up to 15 hours per week. This will bring NSW in line with other States' existing programs. The Greens plan also commits to supporting the many early learning services, including Out of School Hours care, playgroups and other services relying on facilities owned and managed by schools or council owned, to guarantee tenure and ensure that facilities are appropriately maintained and upgraded. Tighter regulations to ensure childcare and pre-school facilities in NSW comply with outdoor space requirements would also be introduced.

Greens Early Education Spokesperson Justin Field said : 

“This is about putting kids first and recognising the value of quality early education and the work of educators in the sector. 

“We need greater public investment in early learning. NSW has the lowest preschool access rates and the highest fees, while also having the highest rates of for-profit operators. We need a rethink of how we deliver these critical services, that puts children first."

Benjamin Arcioni, Greens candidate for Wollongong says :

“The Greens want to see a transition away from the provision of for-profit early learning to pre-school being part of the free, universal public education system. There will still be collaboration between schools and the community and not-for-profit preschool services and where appropriate not-for-profit long day care services."


Jamie Dixon, Greens candidate for Shellharbour adds :

“Other countries have moved to deliver free preschool for three and four years olds because the benefits it delivers are significant, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. By bringing these services into the public education system, we can also address the issue of low pay in the sector, which is a significant contributor to the gender pay gap."

Kaye Osborn, Greens candidate for Keira states :

“One benefit of using school grounds to construct these facilities is that they can more easily deliver before and after school care,  as well as other services that support families, such as playgroups, mothers' and fathers' groups, and early intervention programs.

“This is about building a supportive learning and care environment for families from the youngest years and changing the way we think and talk about early education and care."

The Greens plan includes:

●      Transition to free, universal access to preschool for all children from the age of three for a minimum of 15 hrs/wk. 

●      All new primary schools in NSW to include Early Learning Centres and prioritise the construction of facilities into existing schools based on need and where space allows.

●      Review the rules and guidelines around facilities leasing for early learning services in schools and council facilities to ensure ongoing certainty of access.

●      Stricter enforcement of outdoor space requirements, with clear limits on exemptions.

●      A $20m OOSH and Playgroup Facilities Grant program. 


Justin Field is available for comment - 0439 205 835

Add your reaction Share

Greens put Empty Home Levy on the Table for Wollongong Council


Greens put Empty Home Levy on the table for Wollongong Council

Monday 4 March 2019
What: Greens put Empty Home Levy on the table for Wollongong Council 
(notice of motion below)
When: 12noon, Monday 3 March 2019
Where: Corner of Cliff Road and  Georges Place, Wollongong

Wollongong Greens Councillor Cath Blakey said,

"On Monday week, I have a motion before Wollongong Council calling for an Empty Home Levy. It has succeeded in the UK and has been introduced in Victoria. It is time for NSW to step up and address this obscene inequality in housing".

Kaye Osborn, Greens candidate for Keira said,  
“Every day across New South Wales there are thousands of homes sitting empty. Meanwhile there are thousands of people who can’t find affordable housing or can’t find a home at all.   We need an Empty Home Levy so we can have better housing for a better future for all of us.”
Jamie Dixon, Greens candidate for Shellharbour said:  "There is no housing shortage. Six thousand homes are sitting empty in Wollongong.  Let’s encourage owners to make their properties available to rent rather than leaving them empty. "
Ben Arcioni, Greens candidate for Wollongong said, 
“I know how hard it is for young people to find affordable rental accommodation.  Houses are sitting empty that could be homes.”
Add your reaction Share

Greens back pill testing at festivals


19 February 2019

Wollongong Council last night unanimously called on the state government to repeal its regulatory burden and draconian policing on music festivals, but Greens councillor Cath Blakey called on council to do more to keep festival goers safe from the risk of overdoses. Council should also support pull testing at Festivals.

Greens Clr Cath Blakey said:
"I am gl;ad that Wollongong Council agreed to call on the state government to end the draconian policing of music festivals. But the Council motion failed to get to the crux of the issue - how to keep festival goers safe from the risk of drug overdoses. Over the last 5 months, 6 people have died. Prohibition has failed. Sniffer dogs have failed. Representatives of the music industry have clearly stated that more red tape isn't the answer. We know what works - it has been used in Europe since the 90s, and was a big success in the ACT last year. It is pill testing and we need to start a trial here in NSW.

"Pill testing will save more lives than heavy policing, and will cost the festival organisers about a third of the estimated cost of the new festival regulations".

Greens candidate for Wollongong, Benjamin Arcioni said:

"The failed war on drugs is killing people while politicians and police have wilfully ignored the mounting evidence that zero-tolerance abstinence does not work.

"How many more people need to die before they get the message? Pill testing saves lives.

" That is why I will travel up to Sydney on Thursday21 February -- to take the message to the Premier that the over policing of festivals is killing people.”



Media contact for Illawarra Greens: Mithra Cox 0425 351 844

Act Background

Add your reaction Share