It’s a sticky February morning and Willoughby resident Johan Hedstrom is on his walk around picturesque Middle Cove on Sydney Harbour.
He’s in Harold Reid Reserve, where the sound of birds singing and leaves crunching under foot makes it feel far from the Sydney CBD, which is only 10 kilometres away.
But Mr Hedstrom is concerned his grandchildren may never get to experience this.
- Labor and Liberal polling shows climate change is on voters’ minds in NSW
- In some marginal seats like Coogee, it is rated the number-one issue
- NSW and WA are the only states without a renewable energy target
He’s so worried about climate change and the impact it’s having he’s changing his vote when NSW electors head to the polls on March 23.
Climate change has traditionally been viewed by voters as a federal issue, but Labor and Liberal polling shows it’s also on the state political agenda in NSW.
“Voting Liberal has been my default position,” he said.
“I’m changing my vote because climate change is one of the big issues for me.
“It’s not the only issue but I do feel we are not doing enough because we don’t have much time on our hands.”
Mr Hedstrom lives in the safe liberal seat of Willoughby, held by the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian — he personally likes Ms Berejiklian but said her party could be doing more about climate change at a state level.
“Labor are distinguishing themselves from the Coalition and they are upping the ante which is good,” he said.
“Their initiative of 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, it’s setting a good target and which is more in line with what I’d like to see.”
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Both major parties are now focussing on the climate more this election campaign.
The Labor Party this week announced it would put in place a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030 if it’s elected.
NSW and WA are the only states without a renewable energy target.
The Opposition also wants to provide rebates for people installing solar panels on their home.
The Liberals have a zero net emissions target by 2050 and are offering low interest loans for solar battery systems for some households as part of their election promises.
But the Climate Council said NSW had a long way to go when it came to renewable energy.
The organisation’s latest report showed NSW at the bottom of the pack, with only 6 per cent of the state’s electricity being sourced from wind and solar.
The climate council is a publicly-funded independent organisation focused on climate change.
“NSW is in the Dark Ages when it comes to energy,” said Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie.
“While other states have been leading the way moving towards more renewable power, NSW is reliant on ageing, inefficient coal fired generators, that are vulnerable to things like heat waves and extreme weather events.”
Already across NSW there are around 500,000 homes with solar panels.
Ross Browning in Turramurra on Sydney’s Upper north shore spent $18,000 installing solar panels on his home — he received an $8000 rebate and has reduced his electricity bills by 70 per cent.
To encourage more people to get solar panels on their homes he thinks the Government or Opposition should look at providing rebates for solar batteries.
Without a battery the solar energy caught during the day can’t be stored to use at night.
“The batteries are expensive [but] there is a huge benefit,” he said.
“There is no rebates on batteries at the moment, I think it’s a no-brainer we have to look at batteries as well.”
The Turramurra man also had climate change on his mind and believes it’s the “number one” issue for the March 23 election.
“We need long-term decisions made for our future generations,” he said.
In the eastern suburbs seat of Coogee, climate change was such an issue the Liberals were seriously worried they could lose the seat to Labor.
It’s currently held by Bruce Notley-Smith by a margin of 2.9 per cent.
Environment groups are now holding regular forums in the seat with local candidates and residents.
At one meeting in Randwick last Wednesday night, 60 people gathered discussing the lack of open space, tree lopping in their suburbs and climate change concerns.
“Hundreds of trees over 100 years old through out our cities are being chopped down,” said one resident.
“I would like to see a stand along climate change department established under the department of premier and cabinet,” said another.
Mr Nottley-Smith did not attend.
Back across town in Willoughby, Mr Hedstrom wanted the major parties to listen to voters concerns.
“I think climate change is a serious issue and the majority of the population are thinking that so it’s strange that major parties haven’t taken it seriously,” he said.
This state election they have to.
Topics: state-elections, government-and-politics, solar-energy, alternative-energy, environment, climate-change—disasters, climate-change, elections, nsw, bondi-2026, bourke-2840, broken-hill-2880, coogee-2034, sydney-2000, turramurra-2074, willoughby-2068