On Monday 24 January, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW joined community members marking the final day of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the sale of NSW power assets by gathering at the front gates of NSW Parliament to oppose spending public money on a state-run coal mine to support polluting power stations.
“The people gathered at the front gates of parliament represent the many thousands of NSW residents who don’t want their money spent to prop up polluting coal-fired power stations,” Nature Conservation Council of NSW Chief Executive Officer Pepe Clarke said.
“At a crucial time for reducing our carbon pollution, the Keneally government’s deal will deliver a massive, public-funded subsidy for coal-fired electricity generation and hold back the growth of clean energy."
The Nature Conservation Council recently lodged a complaint with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission requesting an investigation into potential breaches of federal competition law arising from the NSW government’s development of the Cobbora coal mine.
The Government’s $1.3 billion coalmine will supply state-owned power generators with coal at between $35 to $40 a tonne, well below the export market price of up to $70 a tonne.
“The Keneally government has effectively introduced a massive ‘negative carbon price’ in NSW, ignoring the many thousands of NSW voters who do not want their money spent to prop up dirty coal-fired power stations and increase carbon pollution,” Mr Clarke said.
“The NSW government claims it wants to reduce total carbon emissions in our state, yet it is spending billions on locking us into polluting power for decades to come. This government subsidy of coal prices poses a significant barrier to investment in clean, renewable sources of power such as large-scale solar and wind.
“The $1.3 billion should be more wisely invested in making NSW a world-leader in innovative, low emissions power generation, driving economic growth through new jobs and export opportunities for the state.
“NSW’s leading environment groups, including the Nature Conservation Council, call on all parties contesting the upcoming NSW election to rule out the establishment of a state-run coal mine at Cobbora and immediately suspend any coal supply agreement that distorts energy markets by reducing the price of coal,” Mr Clarke said.
Photo: Community members and Greens MP Cate Faehrmann (centre) say 'no' to public money being spent on outdated, polluting coal-fired power. Photo courtesy Peter Stahel.