darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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September 25, 2009

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed HRL’s decision to go ahead with a $750m gas-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley.

HRL has announced it will submit a planning application for a new Dual Gas Demonstration project.

Mr Chester said the demonstration plant was expected to create 350 jobs during construction and 35 ongoing jobs once completed.

It will use a combination of natural gas and gas derived from coal to demonstrate carbon capture and storage technology.

Mr Chester said clean coal technology was the key to securing Latrobe Valley power industry jobs into the future.

“Governments need to support and work with power companies in the Latrobe Valley to secure their future and protect the jobs of the local power industry,” Mr Chester said.

“More than 90 percent of Victoria’s power comes from coal-fired electricity, so it is not an option to turn away from coal completely.

“We need to find new ways to use the coal in a more environmentally sustainable way and to do it a way that supports the Latrobe Valley community and power industry workers.”

Mr Chester said he was shocked to hear Lindsay Tanner, Federal Minister for Finance and Deregulation, on ABC Radio this morning claiming that there would be no reduction in the Latrobe Valley economy as a result of the Rudd Government’s Emission Trading Scheme.

“Mr Tanner is claiming there is no evidence to support the significant cuts that have been predicted for the Latrobe Valley community as a result of an Emissions Trading Scheme,” Mr Chester said.

“Yet a leaked report commissioned by the New South Wales Labor Government has forecast cuts to the Gippsland economy as high as 20%,” Mr Chester said.

Richard McIndoe, Managing Director of TruEnergy and operator of the Yallourn power station, is on record claiming the ETS will ensure the bankruptcy of several brown coal fired power station operators by 2015.

“TruEnergy has cancelled maintenance works worth $100 million at Yallourn power station this year, due to the uncertainty of the ETS,” Mr Chester said.

“How can Lindsay Tanner suggest the loss of a $100 million contract will not impact on the local economy?”

Mr Chester said the legislation would bring massive pain to the Latrobe Valley for little environmental gain, given that our nation’s contribution to emissions is less than two percent of the global total.

“It is widely accepted that, for most Australian families the ETS will mean a
30-40% increase in power bills – up to $200 extra per quarter for local families,” Mr Chester said.

“There are also claims it would lead to increased taxes of $9,000 for the average dairy farmer.”

Mr Chester said the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) issued a report in June 2009, which found higher domestic transport costs would lead to businesses exiting regional areas.

“I have repeatedly challenged the Prime Minister to be honest with regional communities and undertake economic modelling which demonstrates the full impact of his legislation,” Mr Chester said.

“It makes no sense whatsoever for Australia to act ahead of the world’s largest emitters and place our economy in jeopardy.”

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