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The New South Wales Labor Government is facing a major test on its commitment to meaningful climate and energy policy as Cabinet considers extending the life of Australia’s largest coal fired power plant by paying billions of taxpayers’ dollars to energy giants.
Leaders from six Australian climate advocacy organisations have called on the NSW Government rule out any move to prop up the Eraring coal fired power station.
Dr Barry Traill AM, Director of Solutions for Climate Australia says the New South Wales Government will lose credibility if they extend the life of the Eraring coal fired power station.
“The Minns Government should follow on from the work of the previous government in decarbonising New South Wales’ energy sector and investing in clean, reliable energy infrastructure for the future.
“Instead, there is a suggestion the Labor Government will take the State backwards by providing billions of dollars in taxpayers subsidies to burn coal and with it, all credibility that they are serious about reducing emissions.
"The previous Liberal government stood up to pressure from the owner, Origin Energy, to buy or prop up operations of Eraring Power Station. I agree with the NSW’s former Energy Minister Matt Kean and the Opposition’s Shadow Energy and Climate Minister James Griffin, that any move to prop up Eraring would dud taxpayers, harm the environment and put our transition to reliable, affordable clean energy behind,”, Dr Traill said.
Beyond Zero Emission's Hunter Engagement Lead Sam Mella said the NSW Government cannot justify keeping Eraring open at taxpayers’ expense “Instead of investment in fossil fuels, we urgently need investment in distribution upgrades, energy storage, system security and microgrids to deliver low-cost renewable energy, sovereign supply chains and good quality jobs.”
Nic Seton, the CEO of Parents for Climatesaid “parents across the country are already battling rising energy costs thanks to high coal and gas prices. It makes no sense to spend tax payer money to increase our dependence on coal when clean renewable energy is inherently deflationary. NSW families expect the government to act in their best interests, not the interests of climate-polluting coal companies".
Kitty Walker, the Strategy Director for Farmers for Climate Action has warned against any plan to extend the life of Eraring saying “our farmers need a stable climate to grow our food. Using taxpayer money to extend coal fired power makes our climate less stable. We call on the NSW government to reject any extension of Eraring, and instead focus on ramping up renewables and batteries for farms and households.”
Jo Dodds, President of Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action said “as experts warn about the danger of the approaching El Niño, regional people are increasingly anxious about bushfire season. The state government should not even consider extending the life of a coal fired power station, costing the taxpayer billions while further endangering regional people.”
Surfers for Climate’s CEO Josh Kirkman said that extending Eraring would be a retrograde step. “Australians don't want to be taking a backwards step when it comes to reducing emissions - extending Eraring is going in the wrong direction. We need political leaders who are willing to take on the challenges and grasp the opportunities that a low-carbon future provides.
Parents for Climate meet and work on the lands of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and respect that sovereignty of those lands was never ceded. We pay respect to Elders, past and present and emerging, and acknowledge the pivotal role that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within the Australian community.