New energy minister has opportunity to hit the reset button

morwellelectorateFriends of the Earth welcomes the appointment of Russell Northe, the member for Morwell, as Victoria’s new energy minister.

“The appointment of Russell Northe as energy minister gives Victoria the chance to hit the reset button. Mr Northe now has the opportunity to restore sensible energy policy in the state,” said Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator, Cam Walker.

“Victoria’s energy policy is confused. On one hand the Napthine government has been encouraging the development of polluting unconventional gas and coal allocations, while scrapping incentives for solar and banning wind farms across the state.” 

“In the wake of the Hazelwood fire, it is clear that the government’s plan to develop a coal export industry is doomed to fail,” adds Cam Walker.

“Mr Northe should state his position on coal allocations and the coal export proposal. It is time for the government to announce an end to the pie in the sky dream they have been promoting of a coal export industry and rule out any further coal allocations.”

In 2011, Premier Ted Baillieu introduced the world’s toughest restrictions on wind farms. The Baillieu anti-wind farm laws have cost Victoria:

  • Around $887 million in lost or stalled investment
  • 650 direct jobs lost or stalled in construction
  • 54 on-going jobs in management of wind farms
  • 408 indirectly associated (flow-on) jobs.

“The Baillieu anti-wind farm laws have cost the state jobs and investment. Will the new energy minister help to restore fair laws for wind farms and create jobs in Victoria?” asked Friends of the Earth renewables spokesperson Leigh Ewbank.

The energy minister will have to quickly formulate a position on the Abbott government’s Renewable Energy Target Review. The Renewable Energy Target is a key driver of wind farm projects in the state.

“Tasmanian Liberal leader Will Hodgman opposes changes to the Renewable Energy Target. Will Russell Northe go into bat for Victoria’s renewable energy sector?” asked Ewbank.

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