Locals joins big election rally to replace Hazelwood power station
Posted on 9 November 2010 by e-news
A dozen MASG members joined over five thousand people on Saturday in Melbourne to call for the next state government to replace all of Hazelwood power station.
The MASG members also took with them a 3m replica smoke stack to join with 7 others made by community groups from Melbourne and Regional Victoria.
The power station was recently described by Premier Brumby as the “dirtiest and most polluting power station in Australia”.
Castlemaine resident and MASG member Dean Bridgfoot addressed the rally, highlighting how regional Victorians are ready, willing and able to move to renewable energy made from Victoria’s abundant solar, wind, wave, hot rocks and crop resources.
“As part of a national 100% renewable energy campaign groups right across Victoria have been surveying and doorknocking people in regional Victoria asking them what they thought about renewable energy. Over 500 people were surveyed in towns right across the state; from Benalla west to Hamilton, from Bendigo south to Ballarat and down to the Surf Coast and over 90% of those questioned said that they wanted the government to do more to support renewable energy.” Mr Bridgfoot told the big crowd.
“We know that clean renewable energy will bring investment and jobs into Victoria, especially regional towns and farms. We look to Germany where more than a ¼ million jobs were created in less than 10 years in renewable energy, to become the second biggest employer in that country, and we ask why can’t that happen here?” said Mr Bridgfoot.
Speakers at the rally included Professor David Karoly who told the crowd that the emissions from Hazelwood power station over its lifetime would be responsible for the flooding of more than 10,000 people each and every year it continues to pollute due to sea level rise. Every year that Hazelwood continues to operate a town the size of Castlemaine will go under with flooding.
“Replacing all of Hazelwood would be an important symbol to Australia and the world that we are prepared to take action to clean up our energy supply. But it would be more than a symbol. It would also reduce future climate change and reduce the numbers of people impacted by flooding resulting from sea level rise.” Said Professor Karoly.
The Rally was calling for a commitment from the major parties in the state election for a full replacement of the Hazelwood power station and a just transition for coal workers through investing in new industries for Gippsland; such as a renewable energy manufacturing hub.
So far The Greens have promised to replace all of Hazelwood within four years, the Labor Party has released a plan to close the equivalent of one-quarter of Hazelwood by 2014 and The Coalition has been almost silent on the issue and it’s not clear where they stand.
Hazelwood produces almost 15 percent of Victoria’s greenhouse pollution and 3 percent of the nation’s emissions, uses and pollutes over 27 billion litres of water each year and is the nation’s largest source of highly dangerous and cancer causing doxin poisons which are spewed over the residents of Gippsland and into the rivers and creeks.
“I look forward to the day when I can take my kids to the Latrobe Valley to go fishing. We will go to Morwell, to the Latrobe River, and we will catch fish, not flyash and cancer. I can see us pulling the fish out of a clean river, under a clear blue sky….and replacing Hazelwood with renewable energy can make that happen” Mr Bridgfoot added at the end of his talk.