Public money earmarked for climate action could be handed out to polluting coal power plants.

In response to reports the dirty Vales Point coal power plant is angling for public money from the emissions reduction fund to help pay for equipment upgrades, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said:

“The fact that one of Australia’s dirtiest coal plants can get a project registered under the emissions reduction fund, and potentially receive government funding from a climate change program to upgrade its equipment, should shock Australians.

“There are serious indications the Morrison Government will make another major cash injection into the emission reduction fund in the upcoming federal budget. It is deeply concerning this money for climate action could be handed out to polluting coal power plants.

“Vales Point is the kind of sputtering and polluting plant we need to urgently retire and replace with clean energy if we are serious about tackling climate change. No government should prop up ailing coal generators with public funds, especially as any major capital works would help extend the life of a plant that should be retired.

“Vales Point getting even this far in the process is a clear sign the emissions reduction fund needs structural reform before any new injection of cash is considered.

“ACF sees value in using a program like the emissions reduction fund to encourage farmers and other landowners to cut climate pollution, protect native forests and restore vegetation. But it should not be used to fund major industrial companies to burn coal, oil and gas. Methods that allow this should be scrapped before any more public money is committed.

“Ultimately, programs like the emissions reduction fund should be a nice addition to a significantly stronger set of climate change and clean energy programs. It is not equipped to be Australia’s central mechanism for cutting climate pollution.”

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