We asked the three leading candidates for Balmain electorate about their policies . . .

 Jamie Parker  Wenjie Zheng  Ellie Howse
Jamie Parker (Greens)  *Wenjie Zhang (Lib)  Elly Howse (Labor)
 COAL:   Demand for coal will fall as the world responds as necessary to climate change. This will devastate the economies of our coal regions. How would your party develop alternative employment there? As a first step, to avoid making that transition harder, will you ban any new coal mine development?

The NSW Greens will create a renewable economy that tackles climate change and creates jobs. We will:  

·   phase out all coal mining and thermal coal exports by 2030

·   invest a minimum of 20% of all pre-2030 annual fossil fuel royalties directly into a Coal Community and Environmental Trust worth $1.8b

·   fund a ten-year plan to support coal workers and communities to develop new skills and opportunities.

*Despite several attempts to contact Wenjie Zhang and NSW Liberal HQ, we have received no acknowledgement or response.

At the time of publication, the NSW Liberals have not announced any election policies relating to these questions.

Labor will ensure NSW, particularly regional NSW, has the renewable energy workforce of the future through:

·   creating up to 13,485 new jobs

·   offering free TAFE courses for training and reskilling in renewable energy

·   investing $11 million in solar panel training for 4,500 electricians.

 RENEWABLE ENERGY:  What are your party's targets and priorities for a transition to renewable energy in NSW? Where do rooftop solar, wind and solar farms, pumped hydro and other storage technologies fit in?

NSW has some of Australia's best resources for wind, solar and hydro energy, but we're not transitioning to renewables fast enough. We will:

·   make photovoltaic systems and batteries compulsory for all new dwellings

·   commit $1 billion to support local community renewable projects including a $2000 rebate for new panels and storage for half a million homes in NSW

establish a new, publicly owned electricity company to generate, distribute and supply clean energy to NSW.
No response.

 (Current government policy:

Support the national Renewable Energy Target of 20% by 2020.

'Technology-neutral' funding support up to $10m per project on new generating and storage projects)

Labor will introduce NSW's first renewable energy target of at least 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. Labor will :

·   establish a state-owned renewable energy company

·   provide the largest solar panel rebate scheme in this state for 500,000 homes across NSW

·   implement reverse auctions for renewable energy projects.

TRANSPORT: Transport is the second highest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and largely unaddressed in Australia. Public transport and electric vehicles may provide opportunities. What are your party's priorities for reducing urban traffic congestion, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions on NSW roads?

It's telling that both Labor and the Liberals are still backing WestConnex despite the evidence that tollway projects encourage car use, increase GHG emissions and suck money from public transport.

Labor's plan for 'cash back' on the M4 alone will spend over $300m on toll subsidies. That's money that should build a clean, green, world-class public transport system, convert public buses to electric power and go towards active transport like cycling.

*No response.

(Current government plans:

Trial 4 electric buses in Sydney.

10% of government vehicles to be electric by 2021)

Labor will invest in public transport, not polluting tollroads, by building the Sydney Metro West and providing free public transport for children.

Labor will also increase uptake of electric vehicles by providing more recharge stations in NSW and setting a 25% electric vehicle target for government-owned vehicles by 2025.

 Voting takes place on 23 March