Maddie Stephenson films Jason John and Myung Hwa from the Coffs Harbour Uniting Church as they deliver the open letter to Cowper MP Pat Conaghan. Photo by: Rob Cleary.
Maddie Stephenson films Jason John and Myung Hwa from the Coffs Harbour Uniting Church as they deliver the open letter to Cowper MP Pat Conaghan. Photo by: Rob Cleary.

Church leaders join call for MPs to act now

Coffs Harbour church leaders are among those calling for an economic recovery which puts the community and climate first.

Jason John and Myung Hwa from the Coffs Harbour Uniting Church were part of a delegation delivering an open letter to Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan yesterday.

The open letter is an initiative of Coffs Coast Climate Action Group (CCCAG).

Group spokesperson Liisa Rusanen says the broad range of signatories demonstrates the wide community support for an economic recovery focused on looking after our community and the climate.

"Our MPs should be representing us - not the gas or coal industry," Ms Rusanen said.

"We've seen some positive moves with the NSW Government's renewable energy plan passing last week.

"It shows that there is a better way, that we can build a brighter future with clean energy and climate-positive jobs, but the Morrison Federal government is still holding us back."

They delivered the open letter to Cowper MP Pat Conaghan's Coffs Harbour office yesterday and he has agreed to meet with them and discuss the matter in January.

Coffs Coast Climate Action Group members outside Pat Conaghan's office including Zianna Faud and Maddie Stephenson (kneeling on either side of the sign).
Coffs Coast Climate Action Group members outside Pat Conaghan's office including Zianna Faud and Maddie Stephenson (kneeling on either side of the sign).

The letter has been endorsed by over 80 local community groups and businesses, including the Coffs Harbour District Local Aboriginal Land Council; the Uniting Church; Coffs School Strike 4 Climate; dozens of businesses ranging from the solar industry to hospitality; as well as several medical professionals and community leaders.

CCCAG members Zianna Faud and Liisa Rusanen.
CCCAG members Zianna Faud and Liisa Rusanen.

Jason John from the Uniting Church says future generations want our leaders to invest in healthy, life-giving employment which repairs and restores the ecosystems, not prop up industries which accelerate the climate emergency.

"Humans were created to serve and protect God's earth, and to do for others what we would want done for us," Mr John said.

"Jesus calls us to give to whoever asks us, so on behalf of the future I ask our leaders to give them a future - humans and all God's wonderful creatures."

Catie Dale, from Equity Engineering says acting on climate change now makes good business sense.

"As a business owner and Coffs local, I want to see investment in the industries of the future, like renewable energy, not the fossil industries of the past," Ms Dale said.

"This time last year, we were choking on bushfire smoke, and now, after a year disrupted by COVID, there are heatwaves across the country.

"If we want to avoid more future disruptions, we need to focus on building a more resilient and sustainable future, by acting on climate change. This is a great time to do that and create jobs at the same time."