It’s hard to miss David Townes’ ride, a van festooned with brightly-coloured clean energy messages that somehow often finds a parking spot outside MP Barnaby Joyce’s Tenterfield office.
While he has no interest in forcing his message, for the past two or three years Mr Townes had been playing with an idea to make a statement about his position on ways to meet Australia’s energy needs, along with his abhorrence of any plans for new coal-fired power stations.
“I was up in Warwick one day and saw the vehicle for sale,” he said.
Now after a six-month design process and 2.5 days to apply it, the paint job is finished and Mr Townes has fitted out the interior with a bed and flooring to provide accommodation when he participates in campaigns. The first trip will be to Pilliga near Narrabri in mid-February to support an anti-fracking protest.
“I am so concerned about climate change and its impact,” he said.
“This is not meant to offend, but I can’t sit back and do nothing.”
He said his stand is based on evidence produced by scientists. As Australia strives to comply with the Paris Agreement on climate change, he said there is no need for new coal-fired power stations as the current ones will serve while the country transitions to solar for its energy needs, and that has to be done as soon as possible.
If predications of a three degrees increase in global temperatures are met, he said it would have catastrophic outcomes for the next generation of Australians.
He feels the pursuit of new coal-fired power stations by politicians including Mr Joyce are ludicrous and motivated by political donations. Talk of ‘clean coal’ is more than just spin.
“It’s intentional deceit,” he said.
The van will no doubt catch the eye as it travels the New England Highway and beyond from Mr Townes’ Deepwater base. He’s happy to continue any conversation on climate change initiated by the van’s less-than-subtle decor.