By Sharon Masige
July 12, 2017 - The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has slammed Victoria Government’s new Future Uses of Brown Coal policy designed to increase investment opportunities while balancing the state’s environmental needs.
As Victoria has the world’s second largest resource of brown coal, the Statement on Future Uses of Brown Coal policy aims to provide clarity to industry and local communities about uses of the state’s brown coal reserves in a low-emissions setting.
It was implemented to support projects that create jobs and boost investment in areas such as the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland region.
The policy will also ensure new projects comply with Victoria’s plan to have net zero emissions by 2050 and puts strict requirements on private sector proposals for new uses of coal.
These proposals will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account an economic, social and environmental factors, and will be supported by an independent expert panel.
“Any new proposals for alternative uses of coal will be carefully examined to ensure they support local communities, the environment and the economy,” Victorian resources minister Wade Noonan said.
“We want to create new jobs with a forward-thinking approach to climate change and a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.”
However, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), has rejected the policy as it will increase energy costs and reduce employment.
Gavin Lind, MCA acting executive director – Victoria, said it will “not only hurt the Latrobe Valley, but punish Victorian families and businesses with higher energy costs and fewer jobs”.
“By effectively locking-up Victoria’s world class brown coal resources, it makes future investment in brown coal-related industries even harder,” he said.
“And by setting an arbitrary emission standard for new brown coal power plant, Victorian households and businesses will face even higher energy costs for a less reliable energy system.”