Environment Victoria has expressed disappointment at federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet’s comments that he is not ‘focused’ on replacing Australia’s dirtiest power station – Hazelwood – in this term of Government.
“Replacing all of Hazelwood could reduce Australia’s emissions by 2.5 per cent, so if Minister Combet is serious about achieving rapid emission reductions this should be a priority” said Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham.
According to The Age, Mr Combet said yesterday that contributing to the cost of replacing Hazelwood is not one of his government’s climate change priorities.
“The Federal Government found $394 million to fund ‘cash for clunkers’ and is providing $100 million to HRL, the developers of a new coal-fired power station in Victoria, yet they can’t find a cent to close our most polluting power station,” he said.
“With both the Victorian Government and the power station’s owners seeking Hazelwood’s closure it should be a no-brainer ahead of the introduction of a price on carbon.”
“Once again it appears that the Gillard Government has stage-fright when it comes to making strong decisions on climate change.”
In June, Victorian Premier John Brumby committed to reducing Victoria’s emissions from coal-fired power by 4 million tonnes by 2014, equivalent to closing one-quarter of Hazelwood, and began talks with the plant’s owners International Power about the closure plans.
Premier Brumby also approached the Federal Government to help fund a staged closure of the entire power station.
“It’s reassuring that John Brumby has today reiterated his commitment to replacing Hazelwood, although he still hasn’t given a timeline for the full staged closure,” said Mr Wakeham.
“Ahead of the state election, we’re urging all parties to develop a clear plan to replace the entire power station during the next term of government.”
“Failing to help replace Hazelwood would be a cop-out from the Gillard Government, but for the sake of our climate the closure must go ahead regardless. Allowing three-quarters of Hazelwood to go on polluting indefinitely is unacceptable” concluded Mr Wakeham.
For interviews contact:
Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham on 0439 700 501
Louise Matthiesson on 0417 017 844