Shadow Treasurer, Michael O’Brien
Daniel Andrews bears responsibility for the decision to bring forward the closure of Hazelwood power station to 2017.
It was only in September 2005 that the then-Labor government signed an agreement with Hazelwood’s owners that extended the operating life of Hazelwood to 2031.
Labor’s Energy Minister, Theo Theophanus, stated in a media release:
‘This agreement also secures a future for more than 800 Hazelwood workers and their families. It will help keep energy prices low, which is great news for the Victorian economy. Our manufacturing sector alone employs more than 350 000 Victorians, largely because of low-cost and reliable energy supplies.’
Just five years later, Labor turned its back on the workers of the Latrobe Valley and affordable power in a desperate attempt to win over Green voters in the inner suburbs of Melbourne as the Brumby government promised to partially close Hazelwood if re-elected.
The incoming Coalition Government ascertained that Labor had set aside no money for the closure, had no plan to replace the baseload power, no plan to replace the lost jobs and no plan to keep power prices under control.
The Coalition abandoned Labor’s reckless and unfunded policy to close down Hazelwood; a decision described by Labor’s current Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, as ‘disgraceful’.
Since Labor’s re-election, Daniel Andrews has waged war on the Latrobe Valley and its brown coal generators.
In less than two years, Daniel Andrews has:
• Tripled the brown coal royalty, ripping an extra $252 million out of our generators, to harm their viability;
• Imposed a 40% renewable energy target designed to make our Latrobe Valley generators uncompetitive; and
• Seen unemployment jump in Morwell from 13% at the election to 19.7% today.
The closure of Hazelwood will lead to massive job losses in the Latrobe Valley, major price hikes in electricity to Victorian families and business and will damage the security of our electricity supply.
This is bad for jobs, bad for households, bad for business and bad for Victoria.
But this is what Daniel Andrews has wanted all along.
When the bills go up, when the jobs close down and if the lights go out, Victorians will know who is responsible.
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