The State Government remains undecided on whether it will push ahead with plans to further unlock Latrobe Valley brown coal reserves for new coal projects.
In a process initially hoped to have reached conclusion in December 2012, the government's coal allocation plans, intended to promote the development of 13 billion tonnes of unallocated coal reserves by making it readily available to successful applicants, remains in a consultation phase.
Despite attracting "significant local and international interest" in earlier stages, a spokesperson for Regional Development Minister Peter Ryan said the process remained in a detailed market engagement process.
"Depending on the market feedback, the Coalition Government will decide whether to go to a formal tender process," the spokesperson said.
"Any decision to proceed to tender including any future allocation of some or all of the resource will be guided by the potential to secure credible medium to long-term economic development, investment and employment for the Latrobe Valley and Victoria.
"It is too early to consider what areas, if any, would be pursued and in what order."
The mooted plan continues to attract significant opposition from environmental groups, with about 150 protesters rallying in Melbourne amid fears the plan will establish a Victorian brown coal export industry, feeding carbon intensive sectors offshore.
"It's bad enough that we're still burning dirty brown coal in power stations here in Victoria. But Victoria shouldn't further damage efforts to tackle climate change by exporting our low quality brown coal to other countries," Environment Victoria safe climate campaign manager Dr Nicholas Aberle said.