On Friday July 1, the Victorian Climate Change Bill comes into force. Amongst a range of measures, it commits Victoria to a 20% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2020.
While in opposition, the Coalition voted with the other Parties to support this Bill, yet now they are in power, they have declared that the 20% target is ‘aspirational’. What this means in real terms is that the government has walked away from negotiations with International Power to achieve a staged closure of the Hazelwood power station. Meanwhile, it is working to implement a very restrictive wind farm policy, which will greatly impact on our ability to develop this most cost effective renewable energy source.
If the Coalition wants to gain any credibility in the pivotal area of climate change, its options are obvious. Commit to closing Hazelwood and easing the most restrictive aspects of its wind policy. It must also ensure that public funds go to renewable energy projects like the Mallee Solar Park rather than coal fired power stations like the HRL project proposed for the Latrobe Valley.