Environment Victoria today welcomed news that the Napthine Government has withdrawn a $50 million grant to HRL to build a new coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley.
The decision by the Napthine Government comes over a year after the federal government cancelled its $100 million grant for the same project. The Napthine Government was unable to recover $16 million of the original $50 million grant meaning taxpayers have essentially gifted HRL $16 million.
The Victorian and federal governments are currently considering granting another $90 million of taxpayers’ funds for brown coal projects under the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program, and also considering making an allocation of up to 13 billion tonnes of the Latrobe Valley’s coal reserves. Past government grants and coal allocations have repeatedly failed to deliver new coal projects and technologies.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham said today:
“The withdrawal of HRL’s grant is welcome if long overdue and is the final nail in the coffin for HRL’s polluting power station.
“Even with $150 million of taxpayers’ money and an allocation of 1 billion tonnes of coal in 2002 HRL couldn’t make the economics of their polluting project stack up.
“Unfortunately the state and federal governments are set to repeat past mistakes by granting another $90 million of taxpayers’ funds for polluting coal projects and allocating up to 13 billion tonnes of brown coal in the Latrobe Valley despite the failure of the last coal allocation in 2002.
“It’s time to stop throwing good taxpayers’ money after bad, decide against a coal allocation and give up on the pipedream of new coal mines and so-called ‘clean coal’.
“The Napthine Government should also cancel HRL’s mining licences in the Latrobe Valley which were granted for a power station that will now never be built. Farmers in the Driffield area have suffered enough from a 20 year mining licence over their properties. It’s time for the state government to look after local farmers and landholders and cancel these mining licences.
Mr Wakeham said it was disappointing that the state government was unable to recover the full $50 million grant.
“Victorian taxpayers have provided HRL with a $16 million cash gift as a result of those managing the grant programs putting corporate interests ahead of the public interest by releasing funds when the project was not certain to go ahead. The federal government recovered $99 million out of their $100 million grant, while the Victorian Government recklessly lost $16 million of its $50 million grant of taxpayer funds.”
For further information or comment
Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria Campaigns Director, 0439 700 501