In the wake of the Rudd Government’s backflip on climate change and uncertainty about the future of carbon pricing, environment and community groups today rallied outside Parliament House to call for the replacement of Australia’s dirtiest power station.
Hundreds of people gathered on the steps of Parliament House to urge Premier Brumby and Ted Baillieu to commit to replacing Hazelwood coal-fired power station with clean energy by 2012 as a key plank of their election platform.
Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria Campaigns Director, said replacing Hazelwood with clean energy by 2012 would fill the Victorian and Federal Government’s policy vacuum on climate change in the absence of a carbon pollution price.
“Hazelwood alone is responsible for almost 15% of Victoria’s annual greenhouse gas emissions and is the most polluting power station in the country,’’ Mr Wakeham said. “Premier Brumby and Mr Baillieu could make a real difference to both Victoria’s and Australia’s emissions by replacing Hazelwood.’’
“The shelving of an emissions trading scheme means that all parties contesting the State and Federal election need a credible, alternative climate policy. Replacing Hazelwood could be a key part of that policy.’’
Victorian Climate Action Centre coordinator Damien Lawson said the community was outraged by the lack of action on climate change.
“The climate crisis is not going away and if Labor won’t put in place a carbon price then replacing Hazelwood should be at the top of their list,” Mr Lawson said.
“Already we’ve had a fantastic community response to our campaign and over the coming months we will continue door-knocking and letterboxing across Melbourne. Hazelwood will be a key test for all parties in the coming elections.”
Friends of the Earth Campaigns Coordinator Cam Walker said that not only was Hazelwood a major greenhouse polluter, but that it also emitted a number of other pollutants and used valuable water resources.
“Hazelwood uses 27 billion litres of water every year,’’ Mr Walker said. “This is nearly the equivalent of a month’s worth of Melbourne’s water use, and most of that water is lost through the smoke-stacks. Hazelwood is also the single largest source of dioxin pollution in Australia.’’
International Power, which owns Hazelwood, recently flagged to the Federal Government that it would be prepared to close the power station with the right financial incentives. All groups involved in the campaign want to see investment in new jobs and industries in the Latrobe Valley as part of the package to replace Hazelwood.
The rally was called by the Alternative Technology Association, Environment Victoria, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd, Victorian Climate Action Centre, and Yarra Climate Action Now.
Mark Wakeham (Environment Victoria) on 0439 700 501
Damien Lawson (Victorian Climate Action Centre) on 0419 253 342
Cam Walker (Friends of the Earth) on 0419 338 047
Daniel Clarke on 9341 8113 or 0407 771 072