Greens introduce bill to put coal ban in Victorian constitution


The Victorian Greens will today introduce a bill that would legislate an end date for coal mining and burning in Victoria of 2030. If successful, the Bill would prevent the controversial ‘coal-to-hydrogen’ project from going ahead.

The recent IPCC report made it clear that tackling the climate crisis requires states like Victoria to keep coal in the ground.

The Victorian Government's own Independent Expert Panel for the 2035 Emissions Reduction Targets also made it clear that the Government must plan for and facilitate the full exit of coal power in Victoria by or before 2035 in order to meet our emissions reduction targets.

The Greens’ Transition Away from Coal Bill 2023 would prohibit the exploration, mining and burning of coal after 2030 and would enshrine a ban on coal mining in the Constitution.

Labor made the ban on gas fracking constitutionally protected, and the Greens say a ban on coal mining should similarly be enshrined in the Constitution to make it harder for a future state government to extend the life of coal in Victoria.

Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said this bill was an opportunity for the Victorian Labor Government to show it was serious about meeting its stated emissions reduction targets.

She said in the midst of a climate crisis, it was incredibly disappointing that Labor was still supporting new coal and gas projects.

The Greens also want to see a job-for-job guarantee for coal workers and secure funding to 2035 for an independent Latrobe Valley Authority, which has so far received piece-meal funding and needs a bigger remit.

The Authority would be tasked with the closure of the coal plants and the development of new industries for the region such as offshore wind, clean manufacturing and mine site rehabilitation.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:

“Burning coal and gas is the leading cause of the climate crisis, yet Labor continues to support new coal and gas projects, which just makes no sense.

“The Greens’ Bill would set an end date for coal in Victoria so we can properly plan for an orderly transition of workers and communities, and would stop Labor opening up new coal projects like their latest coal-to-hydrogen furphy.

“It would also put the ban on coal mining in the Constitution so future Liberal or Labor Governments couldn’t reopen dangerous, destructive coal mining.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens regional and rural spokesperson, Dr Sarah Mansfield:

“We know coal is on its last legs, and the government knows it too.

“Yet rather than work on a plan to get out of coal sooner, Labor is backing more coal projects and leaving Latrobe Valley workers in limbo.

“Our bill would provide this community with the certainty they need.”