Name: Sue Abbott
Political Party: The Greens
What background experience do you bring to the political table?
Nearly five years as a councillor for the Upper Hunter Shire Council, and also seven years working for the NSW Rural Doctors Network in Recruitment & Retention as the 'Family Programme Director.'
In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues facing this electorate?
Climate protection and an urgent transition to 100% renewables. The burning of fossil fuels has been the main driver of climate change across the world. It has also been the main driver of the ever-increasing toxic air pollution that we find ourselves breathing in here in the Upper Hunter. We have a short window of opportunity to address the catastrophic affects that climate change and subsequent air pollution have already wreaked upon our society. If we do not make the most of this brief period to get things right, modern society as we know it will no longer be recognisable.
What is your plan for TAFE and future education opportunities?
Bring back exactly the same TAFE that the Scone community had in Scone prior to the disgraceful fire-sale to Racing NSW by the coalition. The Scone community should not have to settle for a $3m dollar shed at the back of the Connected Learning Centre opposite Woolies hurriedly announced by the coalition. The Scone community wants the $20m TAFE they had back, and I will advocate for this strongly. And in relation to other continuing future education opportunities, I plan to ensure proper public investment into more public TAFEs and public training and re-training institutes for the necessary shift to a green renewable economy.
What are your plans to bring more jobs to the Upper Hunter?
Decarbonise everything. We need to build renewable infrastructure (the new architecture of industry) to electrify industry so that the downstream jobs can flow such as green steel, green aluminium, green manufacturing.
Decarbonise transport: electrify all buses, trains, cars, fleets
Retrofit houses and building: insulation, triple glazing, passiv-haus techniques, electrify heating, cooling and cooking
Social housing building programme: homelessness is a serious issue in the Upper Hunter, and a proper construction programme needs to be commenced and completed. This would provide forever homes for many, and address many other associated issues with insecure housing such a mental health.
Rethink food and agriculture: facilitate 'precision fermentation' and a new production model called 'food-as-software' bearing in mind that, according to Seba, T & Tubb, C Major Disruption in Flood and Agriculture in Next Decade, Business Wire (September 2020), the industrial livestock industry is one of the oldest, largest and most inefficient food-production systems in the world.
It is useful to remember that wind, solar, pumped hydro and battery storage have won the race - pretending otherwise is less than honest. It is also useful to remember that we have an amazing workforce in the Upper Hunter with key skills necessary to move to a green economy and renewable industries - we are already ahead of the curve.
How would you address the rural and regional health crisis and staffing issues facing our health services?
Make towns more liveable by improving air quality and visual impacts. Provide lots of job opportunities for family members of health staff. Proper staff resourcing and public monetary resourcing of hospitals. It is essential to provide significant public investment to the entire public health system, and properly fund Medicare. We have a two-tiered health system where the private for-profits companies always stand to gain financially leaving the public and the taxpayers exposed to bear the burden of the risk of under-resourced health services. This is deliberate coalition policy and it is unconscionable.
How do you plan to address the Upper Hunter's poor track record on air quality?
Introduce a Clean Air Act with robust provisions setting out clearly the premise of the act which will be that there is 'NO SAFE LEVEL OF AIR POLLUTION.'
Introduce a Clean Air Commission with powers that allow the Clean Air Commission to engage and work with regulated entities to facilitate compliance and best practice, as well as investigation and enforcement powers to redress pollution breaches and those that pollute.
Why should Upper Hunter vote for you?
I have lived here in the Upper Hunter continuously for the past 38 years, and I care about the coal and rural communities that make up the Upper Hunter. As a local community representative on the Upper Hunter Shire Council, I have a good track record for being a fearless defender of transparency and the truth.
I know that we do not need to choose between protecting the planet and protecting good jobs because we can do both. But I also know that we need to decarbonise industry quickly so that we can transition to a genuine green economy, and we need to do that immediately.
If Upper Hunter votes for me, our first job together will be to build capacity for 'emergency-speed-emissions-elimination' by 2030.
Democracy thrives on change, and I stand for complete renewal. I will see that climate protection creates the future foundation for prosperity, freedom and security for all of us and for all our children and families here in the Upper Hunter. I have listened to our children who are not old enough to have the vote and who are concerned about their future being potentially curtailed by our short-term policies, and many of them have said to me that if they were 18+ they would vote for the greens.
Climate protection is not a task for the future, it is for now. And the most important thing any of us can do to halt climate change is to vote for the right person - so vote for me, vote green, and vote for a future for all of us.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.