State Labor leader says education is ‘bigger than the classroom’ as he applauds students for ‘standing up and taking action’
— The New South Wales opposition leader, Michael Daley, has backed the state’s schoolchildren striking and attending rallies on climate change, saying it was a democratic right to protest and “an important way to realise their own personal power”.
Speaking at a National Press Club event in Sydney, Daley said he supported the rallies on Friday, even though he might soon be the premier and responsible for ensuring children attend school.
“Education is also bigger than the classroom. It is based on life experience. That is, in part, the importance of being confident and passionate enough to form beliefs and being prepared to stand up for them,” he said.
“They don’t have a microphone or money like the big end of town. But they do have their democratic right to assembly. I support that right to protest especially when it comes to climate change and our fragile environment.”
“And more importantly in this inert digital age, of acting on that belief. Of standing up and taking action for what you believe in – it is called leadership.”
Labor has sought to distinguish itself from the Coalition by promising more rapid action on climate change, including installing seven gigawatts of regional solar farms and establishing a rebate scheme to encourage households to install a further two gigawatts of rooftop solar.
Daley has also promised to review the state’s water-sharing laws that are being blamed in part for fish deaths at Menindee Lake, and to repeal the Coalition’s more liberal native vegetation laws that have allowed an increase in clearing.
He foreshadowed more announcements on the environment before the 23 March election.
Daley’s solo appearance at the press club was initially planned as a debate, but the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, was unable to attend as she was campaigning in northern NSW.
Daley backed the call from his shadow treasurer, Ryan Park, for higher wages growth for the state’s 400,000 public servants, amid concerns from the Reserve Bank about sluggish wages growth nationally and community concerns about the cost of living.
Park said he would like wages growth “with a three in front of it”.
In 2011 the Coalition government introduced a 2.5% cap on annual public sector wage increases, with higher increments possible only if offset by productivity savings.
Daley said he would introduce an independent umpire, so that workers such as paramedics would be able to argue they had increased their skills and deserved a higher pay rise.
But he refused to say how much a pay rise of 3% or more would cost the state budget.
Although he has been campaigning on overdevelopment in several Sydney electorates, Daley said he would not be taking a significantly different path from the government, and would keep the Greater Sydney Commission, which sets targets for levels of new housing in each area.
However, he has promised to abolish “spot rezonings” – where developers can ask for particular sites to be rezoned – and promised to return more power to councils to ensure “fairness and certainty” in the planning system.
He said there had been political interference in the housing targets set by the Greater Sydney Commission which meant Woollahra, in Liberal heartland, has a target of only 300 new dwellings, while western Sydney has borne the brunt of accommodating new housing.
by Anne Davies | The Guardian