MEDIA RELEASE: Environment group slams federal Coalition for squandering taxpayer dollars on polluting brown coal

MEDIA RELEASE – 31 Aug 2018

Environment group slams federal Coalition for squandering taxpayer dollars on polluting brown coal

Friends of the Earth have slammed the Morrison government’s decision to put $1 million of taxpayers money into the flagging brown coal industry, calling on Victoria’s Matthew Guy opposition to distance themselves from the ideological announcement.

“This ideological, wasteful announcement only props up the flagging coal industry and does nothing to make progress towards Victoria’s zero-carbon economy” said Zianna Fuad, Friends of the Earth’s Energy Justice coordinator.

“Burning coal directly causes climate change and is having immediate health impacts for local communities around the Latrobe Valley.”

Environment Justice Australia's 2017 report ‘Toxic and Terminal’ revealed the adverse health impacts burning coal has on local communities.

“This week’s declaration that 100% of New South Wales is now in drought, while East Gippsland faces bushfires in winter is a wake-up call that climate change is impacting the community right now. Climate impacts threaten public health, infrastructure, agricultural production, and the ability for Victorians to have a safe and prosperous life” said Fuad.

Friends of the Earth say opposition leader Matthew Guy and the Victorian Liberal party should distance themselves from this ideological announcement on coal, which will do no favours for their chances at Victoria’s upcoming state election.

Instead of providing false hope the Morrison government should instead support landmark renewable energy projects such as the Star of the South Energy Project, Australia’s first offshore windfarm proposed off the Gippsland coast, to create a long pipeline of new jobs in the region.

“The Star of the South would be a game changer for jobs in Gippsland and the climate” said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson.

It’s estimated the Star of the South Energy Project would create 12,000 direct and indirect jobs, ranging from manufacturing, construction and maintenance, including 300 ongoing jobs once operational, and power up to 1.2 million homes with clean renewable energy.

After being announced more than a year ago and gaining the support of the Victorian government and top investors, the federal government is still yet to sign off on an exploration license for the Star of the South, which would take it to the next stage of detailed ecological and economic analysis.

The fate of Australia’s first offshore wind farm now rests with the fledgling Morrison government, which has appointed Marissa Payne as Environment Minister and Angus Taylor as Energy Minister.

Friends of the Earth say if Victoria’s Matthew Guy opposition are serious about creating new jobs in Gippsland they should be lobbying the federal government to make progress on Star of the South, and distancing themselves from today’s ideological announcement on coal.  

“If David Southwick and Matthew Guy are serious about creating jobs in renewable energy in the region, will they lobby their federal colleagues to take Australia’s first offshore wind farm to the next stage of detailed ecological & economic assessment?” asked Simons.

Further comment

Energy Justice - Zianna Fuad 0401 613 301

Yes 2 Renewables Coordinator - Pat Simons 0415 789 961


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