Media release

Addressing climate change critical in battle for New England

Media Release, 10 March 2016: Farmers and renewable energy advocates have applauded Tony Windsor for putting climate change and renewable energy on the election agenda.

The race for New England has started following today’s announcements that Independent Tony Windsor and Greens candidate Mercurious Goldstein will challenge the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce for the NSW seat.

Liverpool Plains beef farmers Derek and Kirrily Blomfield believe in tackling climate change.  The 2014 NSW Farmer of the Year award winners say helping farmers become more resilient is crucial if the region is to continue feeding the country with its seeds, grains and meat.

“We want a candidate who says climate change is real, it’s here, lets deal with it. As a nation we need to be shifting towards renewable energy,” Mr Blomfield said.

“We have to make farms and farming businesses more resilient – farm existence needs to prepare for change, rather than relying on drought relief.”

Dr Robin Gunning, former Principal Research Scientist with the Department of Primary Industries and New England Coordinator of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, says climate change will severely impact the region if more isn’t done to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s so dry, so hot, so late in the year. Climate change is happening. It hasn’t rained for weeks. There’s no such thing as normal weather anymore,” Dr Gunning said.

“We won’t be growing wheat in Northern NSW in a few years. It is a big, traditional crop but it’s all going to go.”

Australian Wind Alliance spokesperson Andrew Bray says the electorate of New England could reap many benefits through the building of more renewable energy projects.

“Wind energy is offering New England a once-in-a-generation opportunity for economic transformation,” Mr Bray said.

“The government, of which Mr Joyce is Deputy Prime Minister, can show it is serious about the economic development of regions like New England by promoting renewable energy and outlining how it will drive renewable energy investment post-2020.”

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