Tony Abbott is fond of saying “Judge me not by what I say, but by what I do”. Using this as a basis of judging Mr Abbott’s Coalition colleagues in Victoria on their environmental claims, it becomes clear that that what they claim in not what they are doing.
When they say that they are fighting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the environment, the list of their actions gives the lie to those claims. Since coming to power in 2010, the Bailieu/Napthine Governemnt has:-
· Decimated the wind power industry in Victoria, resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs from components manufacturers and rural construction firms. They have only approved 8 wind turbines in total and the pipeline of hundreds of millions of dollars of investment has gone overseas or interstate. The Brumby Government had approved 1000 turbines previous to the last election and this Napthine Government has even tried to scuttle some of these
· Backed more coal fired generation capacity such as the HRL project in Morwell with $50 million funding
· Broke an election promise to support large scale solar power stations in northern Victoria
· Reduced the solar net feed-in tariff to 8 cents per kWh.
· Wholeheartedly encouraged the mining of CSG in Victoria until forced to change their stance by community opposition from farmers
· Renewed a 50 Year lease of coal for the Angelsea power station
· Watered down laws that protect endangered species from excessive logging
· Abandoning the VRET that would have stipulated a 20% renewable energy target by 2020 in Victoria
· Allocating another 13 billion tonnes of coal in the Latrobe Valley, for which the only use in the medium term will be for export to China
· The abandonment for new power stations to have an upper limit of 0.8 Tonnes CO2 per MWh carbon emissions.
· Scrapping of Mr Baillieu’s “Greenlight Plan” to convert street lights to energy efficient LED lighting
· Supported the axing of the carbon tax and the Climate Change Council by the Abbott Government
· The withdrawal of $25 million for Geothermal power near Geelong
· Scrapped the Green Government Building Program to make schools and other government buildings more energy efficient
· Diverting money from environmental programs to top up the “Lignite Demonstration Project” that persists with the myth of finding “Clean Coal” and Carbon Capture and Storage schemes that even the power stations will not fund as it will not be financially viable to do so. The latest exemplar of this is the proposed Gippsland Enterprise Development Centre at Fed Uni Churchill.
· Abandoning the VEET scheme, that encouraged the roll out of energy saving devices in homes and businesses –supposedly to be replaced by some as yet unspecified scheme
On top of this litany of anti-environmental actions, the Coalition has overseen the abandonment of the Portland Wave Energy Project and the 100 MW Silex concentrated solar PV development at Mildura, which had the potential to develop Greenhouse Gas free electricity technology that could be sold to other countries, continuing the Howard Governments blindness to new, emerging and potentially financial pots of gold.This is certainly not a government which has any environmental credibility and for them to claim that it has, is pure political spin. As our PM says, “Judge them not on what they say, but on their actions.”