Fair Share Festival, Newcastle
Renewing & Financing our Sustainable Community Life & Environment
Newcastle hosted the Fair Share Festival, a first for Australia, where expert speakers presented important global financial, social justice and ecological issues as well as sustainable solutions. Organisers and guests rated it as an inaugural success with 250 people attending.
It was held at Hamilton Public School hall, grounds and Permaculture garden on Friday evening and Saturday 22-23rd October, 2010.
The festival was opened with an Acknowledgment to Country by Mick (Didge) Davidson, the Lord Mayor John Tate, Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon, NCC councilor Michael Osborne, festival convenor Tom Toogood and Permaculture Hunter Region Vice-Chair John Shiel. MP Jodi Mackay apologised for non-attendance at the opening due to other commitments, but visited the festival later in the day.
Eminent local and interstate speakers presented informative and entertaining talks, panels and workshops, many of which were transmitted live to the Internet, or recorded on video for later release.
Author and global lecturer on ecological economics Dr Shann Turnbull warned that the global financial crisis (GFC ) was shaping up for a second crash which could be worse than the first. He and Dr Louise Crabtree from the University of Western Sydney presented solutions to the housing affordability crisis, through community land trusts and land banks to ensure 40% lower house prices and sustainable land stewardship.
Other sustainable solutions for the continual financial boom and bust cycles were more co-operatives, mutual societies, credit unions and community food growing to create local food economies. These strengthen local community capacities to safeguard against future booms and busts.
Dr Ted Trainer from the University of New South Wales outlined compelling evidence for the most radical solution to financial and climate change chaos, which was to adopt far simpler, lower affluent life-styles – a reminder of Ghandi’s words “live simply, that others may simply live”.
The festival had great entertainment for the whole family with the financial-musical-comedy group the Harmonic Stimulus Package led by Ross Brown, the athletic performers of John Campbell’s Circus Avalon, the humorous political-folk-satirist musician Paul Spencer and the Eco-Magican David Whitson.
The festival was produced by Permaculture Hunter Region (PHR) on behalf of PHR, Permaculture Research Institute (PRI), Transition Town Newcastle and Unions NSW.
As well as the entertainment and stalls, the highlights of the festival were:
- The Benefits of Community Financing – John Ford & Mark Grant (Hunter United), Bronwyn Greive & Col Roach (Bendigo Community Bank proposals)
- Achieving Sustainable & Affordable Housing – Dr Shann Turnbull (Patron: Economic Reform Australia) & Dr Louise Crabtree (UWS)
- The Travesty of Global Trade – Lee Rhiannon and Harvey Purse (AFTINET)
- Democracy in action: The Co-operative Solution – Helen McCall (Co-operative Federation of NSW)
- The Sustainable Transition Emergency – What to do Now? – Dr F. Ted Trainer (UNSW & Patron: Economic Reform Australia)
- Take Back the (Food) Economy: Lessons from the Hummingbird – A/Prof Jenny Cameron (Univ. of Newcastle)
- Prosperity without Growth Panel – Prof. Bill Mitchell (Univ. of Newcastle) & Dr Shann Turnbull
- What Caused the Global Financial Crisis, and What are the Opportunities? – Prof. Bill Mitchell (Univ. of Newcastle)
- Local Food Economies Panel – A/Prof Jenny Cameron, Robert Pekin (Food Connect Foundation), Ryhall Gordon
- Should Our Public Assets be Sold Off – Electricity, Hunter Water – Mary Yaager (UnionsNSW)
- Didgeridoo Workshop BYO – Mick Davidson
- Lessons from Bolivia – Hope in the Face of a Global Climate Crisis – Steve Denshire and Naomi Hogan (Rising Tide)
With Dr Shann Turnbull appearing in 3 sessions, he made a considerable contribution to the success of the festival, and has made a significant impression on the Hunter. On the way to the festival, Lake Macquarie City Council invited Dr Turnbull to present a unique seminar to many in its planning department on “Half-Price Housing: By Making Community Land Self-financing”. This seminar was also attended by developers and agencies with land banks and an interest in low-cost and social housing.
Festival convenor Mr Tom Toogood acknowledged the key help of John Shiel in co-ordinating and promoting a complex innovative event which had no real precedents by which to set guidelines. He also thanks all the volunteers who gave so generously of their time; the school Principal, David Jack, for his keen support and involvement on the day; activist groups Rising Tide and NUSA Enviro; the many other support groups who made the event such a success; and of course all the sponsors.
For speaker details see speakers
The sponsor details are here.
Enquiries & Future Publications
The festival was broadcast live on the internet, and over the next few months, key sessions will have presentations uploaded to the website, or may be summarised in pamphlets in pdf format once the video is edited and transcribed.