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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has defended the jobs of power station workers in the Latrobe Valley from a Victorian Greens campaign to begin closing Yallourn and phase out all coal-fired plants by 2030.

Describing the Greens policy position as ‘reckless, ill-informed and costly to local families and businesses’, Mr Chester said the Greens had no interest in the welfare of Latrobe Valley residents.

“Once again the Greens are disregarding the many workers and families who rely on jobs provided by the power stations and have placed their ideology ahead of the need for reliable, affordable, baseload energy in our state,” Mr Chester said.

“Gippslanders are quite literally at the coalface of the energy debate.

“Our major employers and industries in Gippsland, including the dairy, timber and food processing industries, are dependent upon reliable, affordable baseload energy.

“We need a balanced approach to this issue. Unfortunately, the Labor Party has failed to stand up to the Greens and defend the jobs of blue-collar workers in the Latrobe Valley.

“Reliable, affordable energy is at the heart of our economy and it is at the heart of our household cost of living.  We need a mix of renewable energy and baseload energy, which is provided largely in Australia at the moment by coal-fired power stations.
“We must do our share to reduce emissions and we need to get the balance right between renewables and affordable baseload energy, but we don’t need to mug our economy to do it.

“We don’t need to punish households and we don’t need to set unrealistic targets proposed by the Greens that only drive investment offshore and kill off our manufacturing sector.

“City-based Greens are continually coming up with pie-in-the-sky ideas with no real understanding on the implications for Gippsland workers, families and communities.

“Sadly, the Labor Party has also given up the fight for local workers as it chases Green preferences to win seats in the cities.”

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