Media Releases | 10th Jul, 2011

Carbon package begins Australia’s clean energy transformation

Decision to replace 2000 MW of brown coal a win for community campaigns and climate

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Environment Victoria today strongly welcomed the price on carbon package announced by Prime Minister Gillard, saying that the long-awaited price on carbon would begin Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy.

Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said today:

“The price on pollution package is a critical milestone in Australia’s response to climate change. In decades to come we will look back on this package as the turning point that led to a fall in Australia’s emissions.”

“We’re particularly pleased that the MPCCC has adopted Environment Victoria’s proposal to use some of the carbon price revenue to retire 2000 MW of our most polluting power stations. This should at long last see the replacement of Hazelwood, Australia’s most emissions-intensive power station, an outcome we have been campaigning for since 2005.”

“Retiring 2000 MW of brown coal generation will reduce Australia’s greenhouse pollution from brown coal by around 20 million tonnes every year. We’ll be working to ensure the replacement of Hazelwood well before the 2020 deadline for retirement of 2000 MW of brown coal.”

“We are pleased to see significant funding in the package to assist regions like the Latrobe Valley create new jobs and industries and transition to a cleaner future.”

“We also welcome the massive increase in renewable energy investment that the price on carbon package will deliver, and look forward to Victorian projects like the Mallee Solar Park receiving Federal support.”

This package is significantly stronger than the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme that was unsuccessful in 2009. In particular, new funding to fast-track renewable energy, the coal closure fund, new biodiversity funding, the newly created Climate Change Authority and the fact that there are no international offsets in the early years of the scheme make this a better outcome for the environment.”

“For this reason, we urge the Federal Parliament to support the carbon price when legislation is tabled, and we urge the Victorian Government to support the national process and play a constructive role.”

Environment Victoria cautioned however that the carbon price package would need to be strengthened over time to ensure Australia was playing its part in responding to climate change globally.

“The carbon price will need to increase and polluter compensation be wound back in future years to achieve scientifically-based emission reduction targets which will be critical if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“We remain concerned that too many free permits are being offered to polluters which increases the cost of the scheme and delays action.”

“And while there is some new funding for energy efficiency, we will need further national leadership to ramp up our efforts on energy efficiency and vehicle fuel efficiency in order to reduce emissions without increasing household bills.”

Read our detailed analysis of the plan

For comment

Mark Wakeham, Campaigns Director 0439 700 501