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Greens demand Just Transition for Collie

Australian Greens Senator for WA Scott Ludlam will join protestors at Collie, in WA’s southwest, this weekend (19-20 Dec) to call for action by State and Federal governments on climate change and oppose the expansion of the local coal industry.

“This camp has been organised by young people dedicated to making the future a better place – and I wholeheartedly support their efforts,” Senator Ludlam said.

“The organisers have been working over many weeks to engage the Collie community, including holding a public forum, distributing flyers and contacting local people.

“The Australian Greens back their calls for a ‘Just Transition’ for this community of 7,000 people, many of whose livelihoods depends on coal.

“The State and Federal governments are planning a massive expansion of the coal industry in blind defiance of the basic realities of 21st century energy policy. This will leave the people of Collie literally and metaphorically high and dry,” Senator Ludlam warned.

“The proposed four new coal-fired power stations and urea plant will dump an additional 8.8 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere annually, but these projects are a local disaster as well.

“The rivers and pools of the beautiful Collie River Valley are being sucked dry by dewatering of local aquifers to enable open-cut coal-mining.

“Millions of litres of water are used annually in local coal-fired power stations for steam and cooling. The system is at its limits now, and no-one can tell us where more water for the proposed expansions will come from.

“Meanwhile, Collie’s air quality is being contaminated by particulates and sulphur dioxide that are emitted when coal is burnt. These cause respiratory problems in children, the elderly and infirm and with these proposals, will exceed national pollution limits.

“But it is jobs and a future for the young people that matter most to people. Both the State and Federal governments stand condemned for their failure to establish robust, consultative transition-planning for communities such as Collie.

“As even the coal lobby has stated, climate change is real. To think we can pretend this isn't happening and continue to expand the industry is bordering on insane.

“The State and Federal governments are throwing billions of dollars into carbon geo-sequestration research – but this pipedream is just that: costly, high-risk and ridden with failure. Even the most optimistic proponents admit it is several decades away.

“Collie, with its electricity networks, is ideally placed to be part of WA’s sustainable future: providing base-load renewable electricity generated by a solar thermal farm to its east, wind turbines on the coast and potentially geothermal, currently being explored in the Collie Basin.

“It is entirely possible for Collie to make this transition to a strong future but we need leadership now – not decisions that will lock this town into an industry that is negatively impacting region already and has a questionable future at best.

“Every West Australian who buys coal-fired electricity can be part of the solution – it’s time we all called for justice for communities such as Collie so that they may make this transition.”

For more information or media enquiries please call Eloise Dortch on:
0415 507 763 (Friday-Sat 1pm); or
the camp media phone: 0438 856 981 (Sat 1pm~).


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