Australia’s green groups have labelled Steve Bracks’ decision to expand Hazelwood power station as an environmental tragedy that will be fought through legal action.
After two years of legal wrangling and environmental negotiations, Australia’s worst climate change polluting power station will expand its operations to at least 2031, resulting in nearly 445 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution – the equivalent pollution from more than 105 million cars in a year.
“This is a gutless, tragic decision by Steve Bracks. Hazelwood was the Premier’s number one environmental test. He has now failed. Mr Bracks has sold out the Victorian public, the environment, new jobs and new industries to bend over backwards to one foreign company,” said Environment Victoria’s Executive Director, Marcus Godinho.
“Steve Bracks’ decision easily wipes out all the savings from his Government’s other climate change policies. Just four days of Hazelwood operations cancels the annual savings from the 5 Star Energy Standard for new homes. It makes a mockery of his environmental claims and leaves his reputation in tatters.
“At a time when climate change is ravaging the world, Steve Bracks’ legacy will now be to create more drought, bushfires, flooding and extreme weather in Victoria.”
Australian Conservation Foundation Executive Director, Don Henry, said his organisation would now take legal action: “This is an atrocious decision for the environment. We took legal action last year to force the government to be honest about Hazelwood’s pollution. We will now formally object to any application to grant new coal to the company and will follow up any further legal action.”
Greenpeace Energy Campaigner, Catherine Fitzpatrick, said this decision was a huge environmental and economic loss.
“Around Australia and the world Premier Bracks’ peers are seeing the economic, employment and environmental benefits of moving to cleaner fuels. But Mr Bracks has slammed the door on burgeoning industries such as solar, wind and energy efficiency, rejecting more clean jobs and investment in favour of one dirty company,” she said.