Member for Morwell Russell Northe has today in State Parliament (Parliament Hansard) called upon the Minister for Energy to be clear with the people of the Latrobe Valley, as to how the Governments Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) will impact our local community.
“It simply defies belief that you can on the one hand introduce such an ambitious target, yet on the other hand you don’t undertake any modelling to understand the impacts this same legislation might have upon a major industry and a community”, Mr Northe said.
Unfortunately the Ministers response in Question Time failed to shed any light on the issue at hand, despite just last week the Minister stating there would be no detrimental impacts upon the Latrobe Valley, and there being no evidence where she is able to substantiate this claim.
Both Energy Australia and Latrobe City Council have expressed their respective concern on what the impacts of a legislated 50% renewable energy target will have upon Yallourn Power Station and the Latrobe Valley community. (Reference)
With Victoria currently relying on more than 80% of its electricity, supply from brown Coal (75%) and Gas (6.2%), Mr Northe expressed concerns that this is signalling an early closure of the Yallourn Power Station.
“Unfortunately the fear is that VRET could contribute to an early closure of Yallourn”, Mr Northe lamented. “What we need is specific research to understand the economic and social impacts that the VRET – and an early closure – may have”.
“I have requested that the State Government urgently undertake comprehensive modelling of its own legislation, so that we can all be clearer as to the impacts, and so that in turn appropriate measures can be introduced to support our local businesses, industries, workers, families and our region”, Mr Northe said.
To me and many others this is a fair and reasonable request and disappointingly the Government for whatever reason seems unwilling to undertake this important body of work.