That’s why Tony Abbott hit back the way he did along with the coal industry’s front group the Minerals Council, other conservative politicians and the financial media. “Why is a coal city saying no to coal investment?” Abbott asks. To him Newcastle can only be a coal city, now and forever.
But the plucky council can clearly envision what life as a “coal city” will be like in the 21st century—endless, despairing decline. And they can envision another future. Australia is well educated, endowed with renewable resources and able to thrive in the world that’s coming.
“There are an increasing group of start-ups in Newcastle that are looking at a clean-tech future, we are embracing those opportunities,” Clausen said. “The coal downturn has particularly affected the Hunter Valley. Clean techs are going to be a significant employer moving forward. Council is being on the front foot about that.”
Ask yourself which one of those politicians—Clausen at 23, or Abbott an older-than-his-years 56—speaks for the future. The question answers itself. Clausen and the Newcastle city council are taking plenty of heat from the powers-that-be, but they are helping ward off the much worse heat that’s coming our way. They are bringing sense and a sense of the future to Newcastle and exporting it to all of Australia and the whole world.
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