It makes no economic or environmental sense to subsidise brown coal and this new $90 million injection into yet another brown coal subsidy undermines the federal government's climate credibility, the Australian Greens said today.
"Why are the Commonwealth and Victorian governments wasting money on yet more hand-outs for yesterday's polluting energy instead of investing in clean renewable sunrise industries like solar and wind power?" Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said today.
"Anyone who respects the overwhelming weight of climate science would consider it ridiculous to subsidise the most polluting technology to attempt to make it slightly less polluting.
"Just last week the government withdrew its $100 million grant for the HRL project because they saw that its attempts to clean up brown coal technology were going nowhere. The private sector refuses to invest in this technology; the only ones that ever stump up money are the Federal and Victorian governments.
"It is nothing more than an extraordinarily expensive greenwashing campaign -$90 million to make brown coal as polluting as black coal.
"The Victorian government has provided no money to renewable energy projects and yet is happy to fork out $45 million for another wasteful project into an old and dirty industry.
"Brown coal has never been exported because it is simply too dangerous as a combustible material. The technology is far away from making it a safe export commodity. Furthermore it will push up power prices for Victorians, and continue to cause irreparable harm to our environment.
"The government is again tying up valuable resources for a project that will not provide any benefit to our environment or any meaningful support to our transition to a clean energy economy.
"The only jobs this will create are very short-term. The best way to support the community of the Latrobe Valley for the long-term is to invest in re-skilling and seed funding for the clean energy economy as the world moves away from fossil fuels.
"We urgently need to focus on easing the transition to a zero emissions economy, and transitioning the Latrobe Valley away from old, dirty industries to new innovative clean technology based industries.
"Martin Ferguson is looking in the rear view mirror while we are looking at the very fast train ahead."