By Michaela Cullen and Luis Cervantes
The Greens commitments to housing, higher education and climate action have seen the party grow in popularity with young voters, as several UTS students say that some of the biggest issues they encounter are public transport, education, living costs, environment, and women’s rights, all of which are huge talking points by the Greens party.
“I think now especially, we will have more of the younger generation votes because we’re gaining traction on issues like affordable housing and climate change,” Greens candidate for Ryde, Sophie Edington, told Central News.
“We represent those values that mean having a future. I have found it very frustrating watching the government not representing the needs of the people.”
The Greens say rent is rising four times faster than wages, increasing 12 per cent between 2021 and 2022.
As a long-term renter, Edington says she believes the current government is not properly supporting young renters.
“Rent has been increasing hugely and that is scary, 45 per cent of the people here [in Ryde] are renters, but it’s also something important to me because I’ve spent most of my adult life as a renter,” Edington said.
“I’m talking to voters who are saying that they are having to choose between rent and food, and it’s not OK.”
We need to be able to find somewhere to live, near our families, that we can afford, without being under so much stress that we can’t afford other basic things like food.
When Central News spoke to UTS students this week several expressed concerns about rising rents and said housing affordability would be a priority when they cast their vote today.
“The millennial vote is increasing in this election, the group of people who have not been served by the previous government,” Edington said.
“The previous government has very much focused on people who are comfortable, but the next generation is not comfortable… we do not have financial security and we don’t have environmental security.”
She said additional policies, including making public transport free, wiping student debt and phasing out fossil fuel energy by 2023 would help create a “world in which young people can actually live”.
The recent UN Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report found emissions would need to be cut by almost half by 2030 in order to limit warming to a liveable temperature.
The Greens’ policies on fossil fuels aim to decrease Australia’s contribution to emissions by not only taking away subsidies to fossil fuel industries, but also introduce a $7 billion budget per year to put towards a Climate Recovery and Transformation Fund to support the transition to renewable energies.
“We need a biosphere that supports food and water, temperatures that support life and we need to have affordable housing,” said Edington.
“We need to be able to find somewhere to live, near our families, that we can afford, without being under so much stress that we can’t afford other basic things like food.”
Main image by Central News.