Voices for Power Parliamentary Forum

by Dr. Robbie Lloyd and Ruth Moraes

Members of the Sydney Alliance delegation meeting with Matt Kean, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment at Parliament on 17 March 2021. Photos by Giovanni Portelli

Communities of Western Sydney have been severely affected by the extreme heat caused by climate change, compounded by poor urban planning, according to a delegation which met Matt Kean, the NSW Minister for Energy & Environment, and Member for Hornsby on Wednesday 17 March.

Leaders from various member organisations of the Sydney Alliance, including representatives from the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and the Diocese of Parramatta, met to discuss how combine forces to build a more sustainable future together. 

The forum was organised by the Sydney Alliance Voices for Power team, which has spent four years listening to stories from people experiencing increased heat extremes, and researching the effects of extreme heat on Greater Sydney. This has led to detrimental health consequences for many, especially older and disabled people, as well as skyrocketing energy bills among some of the poorest residents of Sydney. 

Matt Kean thanked the delegation for their work and committed to continue liaising with the Sydney Alliance group to work on this issue. He committed to a follow up meeting with Sydney Alliance leaders in late March or early April, to work on a more concrete plan of action. Minister Kean congratulated the organisers on the Voices for Power Roadmap 2.0, which includes 10 practical actions to secure clean and affordable energy for those in Western Sydney. Mr Kean said it was exactly the sort of “dynamic thinking” that is needed to move the dial.

With concerning results flowing in from the Sweltering Cities project survey of Sydney residents (https://swelteringcities.org/), it is very timely that the minister directly concerned  is showing enthusiasm for taking action to address this rapidly growing problem.