The Hunter Community Environment Centre, in collaboration with 350.org Australia, is hosting a roundtable forum to bring together local and regional leaders from industry, government, finance, the community sector, the union movement and the wider public in a meaningful discussion about transitioning to a low carbon economy in Newcastle and the Hunter, and the practical steps required to achieve it.
This event forms part of a national Just Transitions Tour. The tour will travel to around the country, and feature Bob Massie, the former president of the US-based New Economy Coalition, as well as Australian experts working on one of the biggest questions of our century - how we transition away from a fossil-fuel based economy while securing livelihoods and jobs, human and ecological health, and a climate-safe world for current and future generations.
The Newcastle event will include a keynote address from Bob Massie, providing a broad overview of the case for moving beyond fossil fuels and outlining work in the United States to see this shift become a reality.
A panel of local specialists representing key participants in the economic transition will present a brief response to Bob’s address, reflecting on how the messages from Bob’s keynote address can be, and indeed in some circumstances are being, implemented in the region and in their sector. Together participants, panelists and Bob Massie will discuss barriers and enablers to a low carbon economy transformation.
Landmark event in Economic Planning
Dr John Mackenzie, coordinator for the Hunter Community Environment Centre, is hopeful that the roundtable will prove to be a significant landmark event in setting a new economic pathway for the region.
“It is critical that any discussion about transition to a low carbon future takes into account the situation and the consequences for the regions, especially those like the Hunter who have a history of reliance on carbon intensive and fossil fuel industries.”
“In these areas, the new economy means opportunities for new industries, innovative business models and new jobs, but there is a significant risk that without proper planning, we could see an extended period of social disruption and economic displacement.”
“That's why we see this roundtable as an exciting opportunity to have the kind of bold community discussion of the practicalities involved in transitioning the Hunter region’s economy from non-sustainable fossil fuel dependency to a clean energy powerhouse,” said Dr Mackenzie.
“For us, this means we set ourselves on a pathway for a sustainable and diverse regional economy that is prosperous, healthy and equitable and where there are good, secure jobs for all.”