Declaration of Support for Offshore Wind from Young People in the Illawarra

Declaration of Support for Offshore Wind from Young People in the Illawarra

We would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this land, the Dharawal people and respect their enduring connection to Land and Sea Country. We acknowledge that the Dharrawal people are the True Locals of this area. The Illawarra is, was, and always will be Aboriginal Land. 

We, young people of the Illawarra region, recognise the urgent need for action to combat climate change and transition towards sustainable energy sources. As stewards of our planet's future, we declare our support for the development of offshore wind energy in our region. We believe offshore wind needs to be done well to ensure it provides the best benefits for our community and the environment, therefore, we believe the following principles and commitments should be a guide for responsible offshore wind in our region: 

1. Strong Environmental Research: We support offshore wind when it is done well, with thorough independent assessment on ecological impacts and with ongoing monitoring to ensure the protection of our avian and marine environments. We value our unique coastal environment and want to protect it, but we also know that climate change is the biggest threat to our oceans. We want to see offshore wind projects developed in harmony with nature. We advocate for independent and thorough environmental assessments and sustainable practices to minimise any ecological impact. We want to see the government support technological innovations that prioritise ecosystem conservation, maximise efficiency and consider community values. 

2. Climate Action: We acknowledge the severity of climate change and its disproportionate impact on our generation and future generations. We believe that transitioning to renewable energy sources is essential to mitigating climate change and preserving a livable planet for all. We believe that climate change is the greatest threat to our marine and avian ecosystems and the health of the oceans. We stand in solidarity with youth-led movements around the world advocating for climate action and renewable energy solutions. We recognise the power of collective action and commit to working together towards a sustainable future for all.

3. Clean Energy Transition: We support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources as a crucial and urgent step towards a sustainable future. Offshore wind energy offers a significant opportunity to harness clean, renewable power from our abundant coastal resources. However, we want a diversity of renewable energy options available to us, with a mix of clean energy sources and storage. We want to see significant and meaningful community benefit schemes included in this process, so that communities can co-design benefits that are important to us. We want the Illawarra to set the precedent and show the rest of Australia that responsible investment in renewable energy can work hand in hand with environmental conservation and community investment. 

4. Job Creation and Economic Growth: We recognise the potential of offshore wind projects to create jobs and stimulate economic growth in our region. By investing in renewable energy infrastructure, we can foster innovation, attract investment and support local communities and our futures in this region. We support the opportunity for sustainable jobs for local families that provide meaningful work and long term job security. We want to see an upskilled workforce across all sectors, including trades, academia and services that support this workforce. We are excited about the opportunity that offshore wind provides, in advancing education, industry and a green trade future. We call for the government to invest in TAFE and access to education that provides renewable energy skills and education to secure meaningful work and a sustainable industry in the Illawarra. 

5. Community Engagement and Empowerment: We believe in the importance of engaging local communities, including and prioritising the Dharrawal people, in the planning and implementation of offshore wind projects. We support transparent decision-making processes that prioritise community input and participation. We want to see these projects endorsed by the Dharawal community to ensure that Sea Country and First Nations knowledge is respected and included. 

By writing this declaration of support we affirm our commitment to supporting the potential of offshore wind energy in the Illawarra region and urge policymakers, businesses, and community leaders to prioritise renewable energy that will benefit both people and the planet.

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