Hunter Valley locals will protest outside NSW Treasurer and Minister for Energy and the Environment Matt Kean’s office today as concerns mount over the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels and the lack of long-term economic benefits and ongoing jobs the proposed Kurri Kurri gas and diesel plant will bring to the Hunter Valley community.
The protest will be led by the Gas Free Hunter Alliance and local constituents – starting at 10am outside Mr Kean’s office – Suite 5, The Madison, 25-29 Hunter Street, Hornsby – and will present Minister Kean with a 55,000 signature petition calling on him to push for the rejection of the outdated and polluting Kurri Kurri gas and diesel plant.
It comes as a recommendation on the project is expected “imminently” from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
On the ABC’s Insiders program on 24 October, Minister Kean himself said he didn’t think it makes sense to build the Kurri Kurri gas plant, “If [the Federal Government] want to spend $600 million of taxpayer money on a gas plant, which I don’t think will have a long term future in NSW, then [they should] knock themselves out.”
Estelle Dollfus-Gates from Hornsby Shire Climate Action Group said she wanted to remind Minister Kean of his own opposition to the project and that a gas and diesel plant in Kurri Kurri did not fit in with his comments on climate action.
“It is time for Minister Kean to walk the talk. We simply will not stand by and allow any new gas plants here in NSW when we know that cleaner, safer renewable alternatives exist. Sustainable technologies must be the way of the future here in Australia,” Ms Dolfus-Gates said.
Kurri Kurri local Lynn Benn said Kurri Kurri needed jobs with a future, like renewable energy, not to be “fobbed off” with only a handful of ongoing jobs created using “last century’s technology” and more than $600 million of public money.
Gas Free Hunter Alliance co-coordinator Carly Phillips said she had concerns about carbon emissions from the gas plant.
“The building of any new gas infrastructure is entirely incompatible with Minister Kean’s targets of reducing carbon emissions in NSW by 50% by 2030, nevermind the fact that very few local jobs would be created,” Ms Phillips said.
“We know that the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has more than 19 large-scale battery projects on their desks at the moment. Clean alternative technologies exist and need to be prioritised, not gas fired dinosaurs.” Ms Phillips said.
“As Minister Kean himself has said, “If you are going to get to net zero emissions by 2050, you need to be out of fossil fuels by the mid 2030s.”
“The conservative International Energy Agency has categorically stated that no new gas infrastructure can be built around the world if we are to align with Paris Agreement climate commitments of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2050.”