Students and union leaders on Friday united to call for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to abandon his gas-led COVID-19 recovery plan in a protest rally at Nobbys Beach.
A small group of about 20 people gathered to make their message heard as part of a national day of action.
The group called for Mr Morrison to scrap a plan announced in the Hunter earlier this month to prioritise gas and build a gas power plant at Kurri Kurri if the private sector does not replace the capacity lost in the closure of Liddell power station.
With a banner across Nobbys Beach's volleyball nets saying "fund our future, not gas", Friday's protesters urged the federal government to instead invest money in renewable energy.
West Wallsend High School Year 11 student Kalleb Pritchard - one of the speakers at the rally - said the event was about showing the government they did not want the "grubby gas plan in our region, nor across our country".
"This plan would ensure a future of hardship, struggle and ecocide," he said.
"Our region, the Hunter, is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of the low-lying coastal landscapes, fragile forest ecosystems and unique species.
"We, as a nation, should be leading the way in creating systemic change to address the issues faced by our vulnerable environment, yet we aren't. Why not?"
Friday's protest in Newcastle was one of more than 600 similar COVID-safe events around Australia, protest organisers said.
NSW Teachers Federation country spokesperson John Black said the union wanted to congratulate the students on their "leadership, courage and powerful advocacy".
"We are proud to stand in solidarity to pursue those in power to urgently address the climate emergency," he said.
Hunter Labor Environment Action Network convenor Tim Lang said the group rejected the idea that employment and the environment were at odds.
"Change is here and we will not see local communities left behind because of a failure to plan for skilled jobs that will be secure in a low carbon future," he said.
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