SOLAR: Richmond candidates see renewable energy as the way forward.
SOLAR: Richmond candidates see renewable energy as the way forward. Karleila Thomsen FRA050412solar1

Richmond candidates talk renewables

THIS week’s question to our candidates concerns renewable energy, a subject close to the hearts of many across our shire.

All four candidates are in furious agreement this week about the need to support renewable energy businesses in our region.

This comes ahead of Renew Fest, being held on June 18 at Mullumbimby Showgrounds where five teams from the Zero Emissions Byron (ZEB) project will be releasing their baseline emissions data findings at the inaugural

The detailed reports, which cover the areas of energy, buildings, land use, waste and transport, show the breakdown of our highest emissions sources. For example, it was found that emissions from the transport sector are roughly three times the amount from the agricultural or land use sectors.

“Now the major sources and levels of greenhouse gas emissions have been identified, our teams will start developing action plans to reduce current emissions to zero within 10 years,” said ZEB Project Coordinator, Tiffany Harrison.

“This is an exciting first step towards creating a carbon-free future.”

The aim of the Zero Emissions Byron project is to protect and sustainably improve the Shire’s economy, while developing resilience to mitigate against the effects of climate change. For more information go to: or call 0426299787.

And so to this week’s question:

Here in the Byron Shire and across the Richmond electorate many people, including Byron Shire Council, are truly committed to the concept of sustainability.

As an example, here in our region we have ENOVA Energy - a community owned renewable energy company starting up and COREM - a group dedicated to the vision of Mullumbimby running on 100% renewable energy.

Is the move towards the sustainable and environmentally responsible production of energy important for our region and country? Do you see such a move as being beneficial for local businesses?

LABOR- Justine Elliot

AUSTRALIA is undoubtedly embracing the potential of renewable energy, and the North Coast is at the forefront of this transition.

Labor has set out a comprehensive strategy for renewable energy – starting with the goal of sourcing 50 per cent of Australia’s energy from renewables by 2030, and introducing an Emissions Trading Scheme. The Liberals and Nationals, who are still arguing over whether climate change is real.

Labor will also invest almost $100 million in helping to set up small-scale renewable energy projects in communities around Australia. The Community Power Network will provide advice, expertise and grant funding to drive projects like community wind farms, energy-efficient housing stock, and greater use of solar energy in social housing. This commitment will help foster more local projects like CORAM, which is providing community-owned renewable energy for Mullumbimby.

NATIONALS- Matthew Fraser

SINCE the historic Paris Summit, the global direction is clear - we need to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. It’s not just an environmental imperative, it is an economic one. If we don’t start to transition we will be left behind by the rest of the world.

I won’t go into the Government’s initiatives to fulfil our global obligations because, positive as they are, they aren’t enough. But if we want more action, we can start locally.

It’s great to see areas like Byron Bay working with the Net Zero Emissions initiative and works like ENOVA Energy and COREM to try to make our regional areas either self-sufficient or net zero. This provides real local economic activity as well as setting an example for other areas.

As the world transitions, demand for renewables will mean jobs and prosperity for our region. If elected, I’ll advocate for more government-incentivised programs and fight for every dollar to help local schemes.

GREENS- Dawn Walker

THE Northern Rivers economic future is clean and green.

We can all see that our planet is warming, sea levels are rising, we are living through hotter summers and more extreme weather events. So it makes economic sense to act now. The coal industry is in structural decline. Coal exports are declining and the world is shifting towards clean energy.

Our region is leading the transition to a clean energy powered future. With innovative projects such as Enova, COREM and the Tyalgum Energy project and one of the highest uptakes of rooftop solar in Australia, our region is embracing a renewable energy future and benefiting from the associated jobs.

The Greens’ plan for a clean energy powered economy will secure all the benefits of lower prices, better technologies, more jobs and significant export opportunities for innovative technologies and services developed and produced in Australia. Renewable energy is a good news story for our region.

ONE NATION- Neil Smith

THE move towards sustainable and environmen- tally responsible production of energy is obviously very important and would receive priority from our party.

The benefits to local businesses may not be immediate but they will flow in the foreseeable future.

Well done to ENOVA and COREM and we wish them every success.


THERE are six candidates now running in the Federal seat of Richmond including Russell Killarney from the Christian Democrats Party and Angela Pollard from the Animal Justice Party.

Byron Shire News will attempting to include responses from these candidates as we move forward through the 2016 election campaign.

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