The Andrews Labor Government today announced it will carry out an independent review of previous government programs for coal development.
Victoria has the second largest brown coal deposit in the world, however major energy companies including AGL, GDF Suez and Origin Energy have already announced publicly that they will not be investing in new coal fired power stations.
The Labor Government is committed to planning for this transition to give the community and industry certainty going forward. The review of coal development programs and new coal policy will help achieve this, as will the Government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap.
Rhys Edwards from RDME Consulting has been appointed to lead the review. Mr Edwards is former Secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Tasmanian Senior Official to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). He has a strong background in governance, leadership, energy and industry development.
The review of coal development programs will include targeted consultation with industry, environmental groups and the community to create a framework for decision making and consideration of future coal projects.
The findings will also feed into the Government’s new coal policy, which will consider the economics, social and environmental factors, to give the community and industry certainty into the future.
The coal policy will be released in 2016 in order to incorporate findings from this review, the Government’s climate change review and the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry recommendations.
The review comes as one of the three Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program (ALDP) projects supported by the previous Victorian Coalition Government has been withdrawn, less than 12 months after funding was awarded.
The ALDP projects are intended to upgrade brown coal to higher value products, such as fertiliser and synthetic oils. The company awarded the government grant has been unable to develop the project due to a lack of market demand.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio
“This independent review will ensure there is a strong decision making framework around coal projects so that the community and industry can have confidence and certainty into the future.”
“Major energy companies, including AGL, GDF Suez and Origin Energy have already announced they will not be investing in new coal fired power stations. Victoria needs to plan for this transition and the Government’s independent review of coal projects, new coal policy and Renewable Energy Action Plan will help achieve that.”
“Previous governments have supported coal-related programs with limited success. Any future support for new coal technologies must be based on their viability and benefits.”