Greg Hunt says the Coalition's climate policy would allow coal power stations like Hazelwood to be replaced with gas and renewables (''Push for Hazelwood power station to close early'', The Age, 17/5). The Greens have said they would ''implement a plan to close Hazelwood power station ASAP''.
Where is Labor? Now that Kevin Rudd has reversed his climate change policy, surely the least he and John Brumby can do is sort out Australia's dirtiest coal-fired power station. Even the company wants it. Labor ignores this issue at its electoral peril.
OUR state has the dubious honour of owning the most polluting power station in Australia. But now there is a blueprint for the removal of Hazelwood that would greatly reduce greenhouse emissions, expand renewable energy plants and create thousands of jobs in the Latrobe Valley. Not only that, but the owner, International Power, is prepared to negotiate for Hazelwood's early closure.
Surely that provides a simple enough decision for the Brumby government? Or is there some influential coal lobby that takes precedence?
Taking the hatchet to Hazelwood's massive and dirty carbon pollution is a no-brainer and the only way for federal and state Labor to fend off the Greens and to begin to restore their badly damaged climate change credibility.
As for the Liberals, it's a golden opportunity to race to immediate poll popularity. Will Tony Abbott sniff the prevailing breeze and sprint to the front, and will Kevin '07 hand him the race by turning tail yet again?
Or will he finally show swinging voters, like me, who voted him in on this issue, that he does have the heart and stomach to deal with the greatest threat to ever face us and this beautiful, fragile planet?
The call to close Hazelwood early appeals at many levels (''Push for Hazelwood power station to close early'', The Age, 17/5). We just need to be sure that the local community is compensated and not just the international shareholders.
Closing Hazelwood will not only reduce Victoria's carbon emissions but will also reduce many other toxic chemicals, such as mercury and dioxins, that Hazelwood churns out at rates far in excess of newer power stations. Reducing all these emissions is good for the health of the community and for the long-term health of all Victorians, as well as for the planet.
Hazelwood jobs are real and must be replaced with real jobs in our region. This community has been scarred by the 1990s privatisation, but there is a resilience and positivity. The community just needs some signals from industry and from governments, and it will run with new ideas. Hence, we also need new jobs and transition jobs that prepare the Latrobe Valley for a carbon-constrained future.
If the community agrees to lower our state's emissions, then the least we can expect is substantial support from all levels of government to diversify into new and cleaner industries that will continue to employ those who live and work here.
The proposal to shut the Hazelwood power station by the end of 2012 is a welcome one that needs to be grasped with both hands. Many groups have proposed this as a means of accelerating the move to lower carbon emissions for our power generation, but with little response or action.
It is incumbent on federal and state levels of government to provide bipartisan support to work through this to a prompt and real outcome with the operating company.
In the wake of the unacceptable dropping of the emissions trading scheme, a positive outcome on this would give the rest of the world an indication that Australia is capable of achieving at least some of what was committed to at Copenhagen.
Does the greed of the big polluters know no bounds? The owners of Hazelwood power station have now been caught out lobbying against energy efficiency measures (''Energy efficiency efforts will hurt our profits, says big polluter'', The Age, 20/5).
They have shown they are prepared to do whatever it takes to maintain their obscene profits, no matter what the consequences may be for the rest of us. We now have yet another reason to replace Hazelwood with renewable energy; it not only pollutes our air, it also pollutes our democracy.
I wonder how many pieces of silver Victorians got paid when John Brumby gave International Power the right to keep on polluting for an additional 25 years past the planned closure of Hazelwood in 2005? We sold our souls to the devil when we privatised our essential services.