Sharon Claydon supports fossil fuel divestment dialogue with community

CSIRO Director Energy Business Unit Peter Mayfield with Kotara High School students Sofia Davey, Stanton and Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon inspecting CSIRO solar research facilities at Newcastle. Photo by PHIL HEARNE NEWCASTLE MP and former Newcastle City councillor Sharon Claydon believes community consultation is essential to any transition away from fossil fuels.

Ms Claydon declined to say if she supported her Labor colleagues’ controversial motion to preference renewable energy investments over those linked to fossil fuels.

‘‘It’s a long time since I’ve been able to comment on Newcastle City Council but I do know for the federal Labor party, we have a commitment to having a goal of reaching 50 per cent renewables by 2030,’’ she said.

‘‘We will do that in both consultation with the industry and the broader community.’’

Ms Claydon made the comments while visiting CSIRO clean energy centre at Steel River with local high school students late last week.

She said the centre’s research was an essential part of helping to meet the region’s future energy needs.

The other essential element of that transition was consultation, especially for a region with an history steeped in coal.

‘‘Whatever transitions occur need to be in close partnership with with men and women who have real skin in the game in terms of their industry, which is undergoing massive transformation,’’ she said.

Ms Claydon, would not say if she believed Labor councillors should have taken their proposal to the community before it was presented to council.

‘‘I’m unable to comment on their consultation process. As a federal member of parliament I would absolutely involve my community in those discussions,’’ she said.

Kotara High School students Sofia Davey and Sarah Stanton inspecting CSIRO solar research facilities at Newcastle. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Year 11 Kotara High students Sofia Davey and Sarah Stanton were among those who visited the CSIRO clean energy centre.

‘‘I’m really keen to see what sort of work is happening, especially locally, and how researchers are finding ways to benefit society,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m also interested in seeing where we can take subjects like physics, chemistry and biology after school.’’

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