A community petition against Labor’s new coal-to-hydrogen project will trigger a debate in Parliament this afternoon, forcing the Labor state government to defend backing a new coal project in the midst of a climate crisis.
The Greens say the debate will increase pressure on Labor to scrap the project, which will extend the life of dirty brown coal in Victoria by converting brown coal to hydrogen for export to Japan.
At the beginning of the current term of Parliament a new rule was instated which allowed a debate to occur on a community-backed parliamentary petition if that petition garnered more than 2,000 handwritten signatures, or 10,000 digital ones.
The petition against the coal-to-hydrogen project was one of the first to reach that goal.
Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said Labor’s new coal project would pump out emissions equivalent to putting 735,000 new petrol cars on the road.
She added that given we were about to head into another El Nino summer, with an increased risk of bushfires and droughts, the last thing Labor should be doing was approving fossil fuel projects.
This debate comes as school students across Victoria plan to walk out of school for a climate strike on Friday, and after they brought their protest into Victorian Parliament by unfurling a banner in Question Time, leading to the Member for Richmond Gabrielle de Vietri being suspended from Parliament and the Member for Melbourne Ellen Sandell being warned for expressing their support for the students.
Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“People are angry that Labor in Victoria continues to support new coal and gas projects - like this polluting coal-to-hydrogen project.
“This debate will force Labor to defend why they continue to support new coal and gas in the middle of a climate crisis.
“Coal and gas are the main drivers of the climate crisis - and it’s unconscionable that Labor keeps supporting these toxic industries that are destroying kids' futures.”