Both Labor and the Liberals have shot down a Greens bill that would have legislated an end date for coal mining and burning in Victoria of 2030.
The Energy Legislation Amendment (Transition from Coal) Bill 2022 was debated in the Upper House this afternoon on the final parliamentary sitting day of the year.
It was an opportunity for both major parties to show their support for stronger action on climate change and acknowledge that our dirty and polluting coal plants have had their day.
Yet instead both parties spoke out against the Greens bill during the debate and refused to let it go to a vote.
Recent reports have made clear that our century-old reliance on brown coal for electricity is set to end within the next decade.
Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said it was disappointing that neither major party had a plan to transition away from coal and support workers as we do it.
She added that their response during the debate this afternoon should be alarming to Victorians hoping for more ambitious climate action as we head into the November state election.
The Greens introduced their Energy Legislation Amendment Bill last month alongside a major climate policy package for the election, which includes a timeline for coal plant closures between now and 2030.
This would bring the closure of Yallourn forward to 2024 (previously 2028), Loy Yang A to 2027 (previously 2040 – 2045) and Loy Yang B to 2030 (previously 2046).
As part of the reform the Greens would also push for a job-for-job guarantee for coal workers and secure funding to 2035 for an Independent Latrobe Valley Authority.
The Authority would be tasked with the closure of the coal plants and the development of new industries for the region such as offshore wind, clean manufacturing and mine site rehabilitation.
As stated by Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“In the Federal Election earlier this year, more Victorians voted for the Greens than ever before.
“This is because they were fed up with the inaction of the major parties on climate change and wanted to see more independent and Greens voices pushing our governments to go further and faster on climate action.
“The United Nations, global scientists and environment groups have made it clear that tackling the climate crisis requires states like Victoria to close all coal power stations by 2030. But right now, Labor has licensed Victoria’s coal plants to operate as late as 2048, which is outrageous.
“The Greens will make sure the upcoming state election is a climate election and that the next Government is held to account.”