It would be comical if it wasn’t so infuriating. Yesterday, the Federal Labor party announced that HRL, the company seeking to build a new coal-fired power plant in Victoria, would retain $150 million in government funding for another 6 months.
This is an appalling decision, proving again that Minister for Energy Martin Ferguson is more concerned about doing favours for his buddies and keeping alive the coal barons’ fantasy of ‘clean coal’ than following due process or listening to his constituents.
On Thursday, an MP in Ferguson’s own party brought to Federal Parliament a petition signed by nearly 13,000 Victorians against HRL’s project, Yet yesterday Ferguson seemed perversely proud to slap those 13,000 concerned citizens in the face, displaying an utter lack of concern for the environment or for those of us who would like to protect it.
In response to the decision, Quit Coal held a snap rally, which was attended by over 50 people despite them having literally only 2 hours notice to be there. Four Quit Coal activists also locked themselves to the entrance of the Prime Minister’s office in Treasury Place, attracting attention to the issue from multiple media outlets.
Even though HRL’s grant extension is only for another 6 months, it is still bitterly disappointing. We cannot allow politicians like Ferguson to treat the warnings of climate scientists or the views of their constituents as a mere distraction in their quest to run our country solely for the benefit of mining companies and big coal.
Together, we must grow a movement to Quit Coal so strong that it can’t be ignored.
And this week we have a big chance to do just that.