Five thousand people attended the Replace Hazelwood Rally in Melbourne today, increasing pressure on John Brumby and Ted Baillieu to commit to replacing all of Hazelwood power station within the next term of Government.
The future of Hazelwood has become the key test of parties’ climate change credentials at this state election. The power station was recently described by Premier Brumby as the “dirtiest and most polluting power station in Australia”.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said:
“Over the past 12 months Hazelwood has become the major environment issue of the state election. We’ve seen some policy movement from the ALP and the Greens, but now, 3 weeks out from the election, we need a clear plan from all political parties to commit to replace all of Hazelwood, Australia’s dirtiest power station”.
“So far, The Greens have promised to replace all of Hazelwood within four years, while the Labor Party has released a plan to close the equivalent of one-quarter of Hazelwood by 2014. The Coalition however has been almost silent on the issue and it’s not at all clear where they stand,”
Professor David Karoly told the crowd that the emissions from Hazelwood power station over its lifetime would be responsible for the annual flooding of more than 10,000 people due to sea level rise, saying:
“Replacing all of Hazelwood would be an important symbol to Australia and the world that we are prepared to take action to clean up our energy supply. But it would be more than a symbol. It would also reduce future climate change and reduce the numbers of people impacted by flooding resulting from sea level rise.”
Ellen Roberts, from Climate Action Moreland, one of dozens of local community groups involved in organising the rally said:
“This polluting old dinosaur spews millions of tonnes of COB2B into the atmosphere every year, and the community has had enough. Victorians want leadership on Hazelwood and climate change. Whichever party can deliver a clear plan to replace all of Hazelwood and move Victoria to a renewable energy powered future will have a strong story to tell on climate change.
“We need an urgent shift away from coal, and a just transition for coal workers through investing in new industries for Gippsland such as a renewable energy manufacturing hub,” said Ms Roberts.
The rally featured eight 3 metre high smokestacks, a replica of the now infamous Hazelwood towers, made by community climate groups around the state. Hazelwood produces almost 15 percent of Victoria’s greenhouse pollution and 3 percent of the nation’s emissions.
NOTE: High quality photos available on request
View the photos of the day here
For interview call:
Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria 0439 700 501
Ellen Roberts, Climate Action Moreland 0408 583 694