Liberal wind energy policy would sacrifice rural jobs

August 18, 2006

Friends of the Earth today condemned the Victorian Liberal’s promise to wind back the state’s renewable energy target.

“It appears the Liberals are so desperate to claw back votes this election that they are prepared to sacrifice rural Victoria to do it,” said Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth Campaigns Coordinator.

“Ironically, by bowing to anti wind farm sentiment, the Liberal party is effectively abandoning people in rural Victoria to a future of worse droughts and more frequent and intense bush fires, floods and storms. People living in country Victoria are expected to be most affected by global warming compared with urban communities.”

The state Liberal Party yesterday vowed to dump laws that force power companies to buy electricity from renewable sources such as wind farms. This would overturn a current State Government initiative that will see power companies buy at least 10 per cent of electricity from renewable sources, such as wind power, by 2016.

“Globally, wind energy capacity grew by 24% in 2005. This is an emerging and environmentally benign energy source that also creates regional jobs.”

“Combined with energy efficiency, and a mix of other renewable sources, wind power stands as a key element Victoria’s future clean energy mix and will be vital in helping reduce our per capital greenhouse gas emissions.”

Yesterday’s renewable energy announcement adds to a list of anti-environmental policies and statements from the Victorian Liberals.

“Recently, members of the Liberal Party have made statements calling for the creation of more dams, the re-introduction of cattle grazing in Victoria’s Alpine National park, and a moratorium on wind farms. As the full Liberal Party vision for the environment becomes apparent it is clear that it is a mix of conservative popularism and backwards looking industrial policy.”

“Climate change is the most pressing environmental and human rights issue of our time. Sadly, with this announcement, the Liberals have comprehensively failed their first test on the environment under the leadership of Ted Baillieu."

For further comment:

Cam Walker 0419 338 047