Blog | 4th Nov, 2010

to Replace Hazelwood Power Station

Its been an extraordinary year for climate campaigning in Victoria. Twelve months ago the climate movement was fighting the prospect of coal exports from Victoria and a flood of new coal allocations. A short, sharp campaign saw a commitment that no new coal allocations would take place at least in the next 2 years and that the export proposal before government would be rejected. No doubt these fights will be had again, but it was a win which we can be proud of.

Twelve months later, following some dogged campaigning across the state, we’ve put Hazelwood front and centre of the election campaign. Three weeks ago the Premier told ABC radio that “it's important to close down Hazelwood because it's the dirtiest and most polluting power station in Australia”. We could have written that! While talk can be cheap, those comments represent an incredible leap from where we were 12 months ago.

We’ve gone from a situation where no major political party would acknowledge that Victoria has a problem with its reliance on brown coal, to an election campaign where the debate is around who will close how much of Hazelwood and by when. Along the way we’ve had a legislated target to cut emissions by 20 percent by 2020, a new feed-in tariff for large scale solar and a doubling of the state target for energy efficiency. We must be doing something right.

But now it's time for some closure on Hazelwood. If we don’t get a commitment in the next three weeks from the next state government to close all of Hazelwood, and replace it with genuinely clean energy projects, we’ll be living with this polluting clunker until the second half of the decade.

If ever a major victory was in reach for the Australian climate movement this is that time. We can make history by ensuring that Hazelwood is Australia’s first coal-fired power station closed for climate change reasons. And we can do it properly by looking after workers and communities in the process.

The ALP must be able to see the political opportunity for them to ‘go big’ on climate change by closing all of Hazelwood. The Greens certainly can – they outlined a plan this week to replace all of Hazelwood by 2014. As for Ted Baillieu, perhaps he’ll surprise us in the final weeks of the campaign. Surely he’ll have something significant to say on climate change, won’t he?

So let’s make Hazelwood huge in the final weeks of the campaign. Join us this Saturday to fill the streets of Melbourne as we rally to replace all of Hazelwood. Flood the letter pages and talk-back radio, contact your political candidates and badger them, and humbug your friends and family. A big outcome is within reach. Let’s grasp it and hang on for dear life.

For more on the Rally to Replace ALL of Hazelwood hop here

Mark Wakeham is Environment Victoria’s Campaigns Director.