CLIMATE change protesters attended the launch of a sustainable house in Cape Paterson to ask why the local federal MP officially opened it, despite being a climate change “sceptic at best, denier at worst”.
The Cape home, called the ‘Seastar’, has an 8.1-star passive solar energy rating.
Meg Edwards worked on the creative design and concepts of the house, while her partner Carl Talbot of Carl Talbot Builders, was the man with the hammer.
It was to be officially opened by McMillan Liberal MP Russell Broadbent on Sunday morning.
Mr Broadbent saw the protesters, turned to them, and was heard saying “Do you want to protest now or do you want to do it after?”
The protesters stood on the deck with the MP and held up banners reading ‘Libs. ignore climate change’, ‘Renewables now’, and ‘Russell Broadbent is a fossil fool’.
Ms Edwards, a former South Gippsland Shire councillor and state Liberal candidate, previously said they didn’t design the home sustainably due to “government pressure” and that it was an individual choice.
She said it was their home and asked the protesters to leave. But protesters said it was an important issue.
And Mr Broadbent said the housing development is a very good story.
Eventually, the protesters moved off the deck and onto the footpath.
Mr Broadbent congratulated recently elected Bass Labor MP Jordan Crugnale, who officially launched Stage 3 of The Cape shortly before the protest.
“You were an excellent mayor of this community and I know you’re going to make an excellent local member of behalf of the people,” he said.
“We have a luxury car tax. That luxury car tax is on every electric vehicle. So, we’ve got to tweak a lot of our policies to come into this place where the protesters want us to come to, where the community has a broader view of what you’re doing.”
Mr Broadbent said he has opened several buildings, and that builders treat their builds as works of art.
He said many people want to live in Gippsland and neighbouring areas, such as the Bass Coast.
“This is an opportunity for them to live in a sustainable way, pouring energy back into the grid, back into the community, but hopefully into lesser taxed electric cars into the future.”
Ms Crugnale pointed out, in her speech, that the State Labor Government is committed to reducing Victoria’s emissions by 15 to 20 per cent below 2005 levels, by 2020.
Ms Crugnale was also involved in the first planting at The Cape.
One of the protesters, Aileen Vening, said it was not their intention to upset the Talbots.
“But to highlight that Russell Broadbent is a climate change sceptic at best, denier at worst and shouldn’t receive kudos from his attendance at the opening of an 8-star house,” she said.
“Personally, I am desperately concerned about what is happening now with climate change – imagine living in northern Victoria or beyond.”
For example, Aileen said, Albury in New South Wales has hit the low 30s every day consecutively since late December.
“Yet our Federal Government and Russell are still talking about coal. They are not representing the best interests of us or the animals and plants that probably suffer more than us.”